“Solidifying our position”

Tears stream down
her face.
No, no, no – I can’t
believe it.
Yes, she says, clutching her
cardboard box
to her stomach,
only recently slender
after childbirth,
her knuckles white
as on the wheel
of the car
last summer
during her husband’s
heart attack.
No, not you. Nine
years of conference calls
and meetings to
pay for the partners’
first-class airline tickets and
their girlfriends’ upgrades.
How can it end here
among these small, grey
walls, push pins and staplers.
No champagne toast to
a new job, no envious hugs,
just awkward silence as
the survivors shuffle back
to their desks.

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