The clock on my car
(which is always seven minutes fast)
tells me that I am three minutes late
and I sigh
the click of my seatbelt unfastening
making my heart flutter and thrum. A new day
in this hellscape begins.
The next time I get in this car, I will be
will not have eaten for ten hours,
and have been standing up for
just as long, and unless
my boss has had her 9am pinot grigio,
will probably have been yelled at at least twice.
The gravel slips under my feet
I sneak a glance through the window,
I don’t see them,
I am relieved, for a second.
I greet my colleague, who is clearly high, again,
greet the chef, already busy chopping –
he inhales his way to an early grave regularly
in pursuit of five minutes of peace.
We all brace when the boss walks in,
wanting to be a victim of just a patronising word
and a smile, rather than face her full wrath.
I give a rueful smile to the regulars in for lunch who say ‘it must be wonderful
to work here.’ I clock out
at half past six, stomach growling, head misting,
and drive home along roads stained with tears.
© Alyx Hurst 2017