In the gleaming canteen, mugs have been
dutifully stacked for our dismantling,
a form of punishment.
Executives take the same elevator as I.
This one’s chatty, that one’s gravely engrossed
in his cloud. Proximity measures shame.
I manage in an office, but an office
that faces a hallway, not the bay. One day
I hope to see the bay that way. It all began
in the open, a cubicle—there’s movement.
My door is always open, even when I shut it.
I sit seven boxes below the CEO
on the org chart. It’s an art, the value-add,
the compound noun. Calendar is a verb.
To your point, the kindest prepositional phrase.
Leafy trees grow a short walk from Building 5.
Take a walk. It might be nice to lie and watch the smoky
marrow rise and fall, and rise. Don’t shut your eyes.
from Proprietary by Randall Mann. Copyright © 2017. Reprinted by permission of Persea Books, Inc. (New York). All rights reserved.