Poetry 2010 / Volume 41

Bureaucratic Copy For Good Temps — Rob Cook

Candidates who can type perfect rain
will be hired first.

Those we take apart with one question
will be hired to put the air back into boxes.

Candidates who can prove their mental illness
in the spaces of one collapsing resume
will be placed at the top of our list.

What we value most in our employees:
the ambition to begin as the voice of a geranium,
the crushed color one hears over a fax line.

We offer courses in how to cough, how to breathe professionally.

We will ask you to convince us of your existence.

For assignments beyond Manhattan
we require the employer to leave his/her skin at home.

Our most successful temps have gone on to wash the water under the Brooklyn Bridge.

We will train you to smile without showing your entrails.

We will help you make $10/hr to check the bomb wiring inside a water lily.

We will provide a copy of the orientation video,
shot during a July rush hour:

The towering throats that never move.

And fleets of taxis like the guts of extinct animals.
Fleets of people talking to hold back their blood.

The 5pm midtown sky the color of chickens forced to eat
until their hearts burst and leak away

in the strange and endless light.

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