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My New Job
Karla Linn Merrifield

Once upon a time just a month ago
in Florida on a warm winter’s day,
I was hanging out on the condo lanai,
minding the sunny business of the pool,
traffic at the marina, on the river,
and leisurely eyeballing placid tides.
Chillin’ is the pièce de résistance
of retirement.  What, me work?
Apparently.  For on such a languid day,
the great Headhunter from Hell
landed me a whopper job—
no right of refusal, no discussion, no pay.
In one fiendish phone call he decreed me:
Survivor, as in sole.
Heiress? Yes. Also priestess of the dead
and doer of grunt work.  In Rochester.
In April. In cold, wet winds.
It is a cruel estate, my brother’s.
My job calls for space and supplies—
colored markers, color-coded file folders,
a spectrum of sticky notes up the wazoo
for sorting reams of musty hard-copy records,
mounds of paper in teetering piles.
This job, I find out,
also calls for gizmos—
and assorted peripheral necessities.
I just pray Satan doesn’t require spreadsheets.
What if He forces me to input
the voluminous data of Jimmy’s credit-card debt
to perform the calculus of grief?
Please don’t make me do Excel.
Please don’t make me weep
on the job.

© by Karla Linn Merrifield.

Used with the author’s permission.


Karla Linn Merrifield describes herself as “a poet who likes to go places” and “one who likes to take people places.”  Her two newest books, Lithic Scatter and Other Poems (Mercury Heartlink) and Attaining Canopy: Amazon Poems (FootHills Publishing), take readers across the American West (at its wildest!) and into the jungles of Peru and Brazil. Other books have had Karla writing from Antarctica and Canada and one forthcoming from Salmon Poetry, Athabaskan Fractal and Other Poems of the Far North, leads readers to Greenland and the almost-North Poleno bug spray, sunscreen, or down parka required! Learn more about Karla, the Vagabond Poet, at


Post New Comment:
Many thanks, y'all for your generous comments. Where would we be without humor?! And fellow poets to share in our ups and downs and the creations thereof. Joy to you all.
Posted 04/03/2014 02:12 PM
Ditto, ditto, ditto. Amazing!
Posted 04/03/2014 07:01 AM
She finds humor even in something that must break her heart to do. What a wonderful attitude.
Posted 04/02/2014 09:09 AM
Ha! Love the humorous take on the job nobody wants. "I just pray Satan doesn’t require spreadsheets." Brilliant. Great ending, too.
Posted 04/02/2014 05:46 AM
Ross Kightly:
But of course, while rolling about in laughter, let's not forget that most telling of lines: let's remember that at bottom, this is all performing "the calculus of grief." Truly moving juxtaposition.
Posted 04/02/2014 02:45 AM
Ross Kightly:
Which of us Twenty-First Century Cyberluddites will not Guffaw at this! No, let me not weep on the job either! Splendid stuff, this.
Posted 04/02/2014 02:43 AM

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