my friends assure me that my work is strange
compared to theirs. i ask them if they could pick their ceo
out of a line.
i know i work inside his mansion.
i ought to know his face and name.
i know the butler fine – he interviewed me –
he liked that i was ex-army, frazzled
from the war still getting used
to life with one leg
(angry all the time, i heard about
the job through a vet center, bless them all.)
i wanted something quiet. i wanted
to think, maybe study at night for an mba
security jobs that pay well – you expect
a gun. i know it’s strange that all the windows
are bricked up. i know i’ve never seen the boss
or know his name. my paycheck comes from his
corporation, which are his initials, and i know those
just fine. they’re on my paycheck.
what do i do for him? something
quiet. he has this art. it’s all insured.
they want it guarded to save money
i sit at a desk in the room with the art.
i read. i study for the g-mats.
i clean the gun. if the phone
rings, it’s the butler, and he
wants me to pick up my stuff and abandon
the room for a while, with the art.
the boss doesn’t like to interact with us
low folks on totem poles. that’s the butler’s
(one time – i knew i’d be in trouble for it –
in the servant’s hidden hallway, waiting
for the boss to finish walking around the canvasses –
i pressed my ear against the door to hear
his footfall in the plush carpet.)
then, i hear the phone ringing
through the door. i return to the desk.
the butler thanks me on the phone.
i read. i clean my gun.
so many paintings by claude lorraine
all that green happiness, blue sky
and the people like tiny smears of color
among the livestock. also a monet,
a pissaro, and a couple gainesborough.
beautiful paintings of happiness.
trees and sun and beautiful women in
prom dresses, in a garden,
then nick, the second shift guy,
he shows up, and i go
home. i watch tv. i play with my dog.
what else you want to know?