I depart my pointless job,
cross the parking lot,
one of the minority
who are not yapping into cell phones
as the sun too clocks out.
The briefcase is the millstone of choice, these days.
In my grandfather's day, it was the lunch-pail.
The old man used to tell me
how grateful he was
to earn an honest regular paycheck.
The office squeezes what it can from me
then the traffic applies its own version of that ever-turning vise.
By the time I turn into my street,
you could mistake me for a clam shell on the beach.
My neighbor waves
as I extract bills from the mailbox.
I don't have a white flag in me
so I wave back with my hand.
It's not so cold
but I start up the fireplace anyhow.
I need to do something that's just for me.
I even prepare an actual meal.
The company thought they had all of me.
But I was saving myself for this.
Warm skin and satisfied taste buds -
a salary commensurate with the effort required.
Any overtime is sleep.