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Two Poems from 'Employment' photo

Walmart warehouse worker 

They tell me to take a pee test
and i ask if weed counts
they say it does 
i piss in a plastic cup 
fill up a hollow Spongebob 
i get the job anyway 

Videos about forklifts and garbage compactors,
a blonde model in a blue vest  
ordering me to ignore union spokesmen 
she says, I know that Walmart is my family  
and they care about me.
Why would I need a union? 

i lift 30-pound boxes from shelves
while standing on a ladder
i shoot at prices  
i make prices 
i blend into aisles 
i am a bottle of stool softener 

Coworker reeks of impending death 
6 years younger 
and 16 teeth less 
16 inches thinner around the waistline 
a studded belt 
she sticks to me 

i overhear blue vests throwing boxes to one another, like tennis but meaty 
Jim broke his arm last night, one says 
he’s gonna get disability now; he’s made it, the other says
i'm scared to break my arm 
break a leg 

i get a story published in the Washington Post
about pee tests, weed tests
thanks Walmart for this 
literary leg 
this inspiration from a blue hell 

Wow, you've really made it, they say 
i'm living on two timelines 
which one is the lie? 
which one is the truth? 
both and both i think, 
only one person knows i work at Walmart
they see me drunk  
in the hot tub drowning in bubbles  
to heal my aches 
drowning in bottles 
to calm my shakes 
as the sun burns my temple 
like holy water to a vampire 

We see our always-slurring neighbor 
downing a bottle of peppermint schnapps at 10:50 am 
wincing at the harsh sun streaming down on him staggering,
telling us he’s en route to a job interview at Chipotle. 


Crime writer 

Finally, i can Google 
and Google hard 
serial killers, mass shooters, cannibals, corpses
moms who kill their sons, sons who kill their moms, 
people who stab
the one they (claim to) love
in the back 
people who shoot  
their spouse in the head 
i get paid for it, 
and have an excuse 
in case anyone checks my searches 
being sick is my job now, thank you very much
researching the most disgusting animal of all is my life’s work 
though sometimes i wish i could submerge instead of skim 

My (retired) boyfriend  
who owns 15 guns 
half of which are machine guns 
tells me to stop 
please for the love of nature, full stop 
stop watching those shows 
about murder and death 
and listening to those podcasts 
with men giggling about blood gurgling 
please, when you’re not at work 
stop looking at the grotesque 

no, it doesn’t affect me 
no, it doesn’t disturb me 
look outside, don’t you see the spiders weaving webs and cats fighting over a dead rat
when they have Fancy Feast at home
and hands to pet them
hearts that love them
stop acting like this planet doesn’t have zits
and you’ll be less disturbed by  
all of it.

Purchase Employment here.