Volume 34, Number 2

Human Resources

I beg for a test to tell me I am
not going to die on the job.

They schedule me for an online assessment
to determine how many words

I can type in a minute.
I share how I am saving up

for a trip to Japan, for when it is safe
to see the world again.

They demand a detailed action plan
about who will cover my workload

in the event I am killed or maimed
in a plane, train, or boat accident.

I admit to having bad dreams
I can’t quite remember

when I wake up during small hours.
They take my fingerprints

and run me through all
the state and federal databases.

I reveal how I miss my mom
now more than ever

a year after her death.
They run a Prezi slideshow

detailing the most popular online scams
undercutting office productivity.

I ask to talk to somebody
who will listen. They assign me

a string of random letters
then tell me to quietly wait

until my number is called.

—Noel Sloboda

first appeared in Redactions