Coping With Miasma

Jay’s office was the only safe haven
On the entire second floor of the old brownstone headquarters
Of Prufrock and Son Household Goods, LLP

Twenty square feet of healthy atmospheric ions
Unpolluted by kindergarten finger-painting blather
And vacation photos displayed in a plastic pineapple frame

His desk held no coffee mug embossed with the company logo
Or tell-tale crumbs from the red velvet chocolate frosted cupcake
Left over from yesterday’s office birthday party held for his dad

He emphatically deleted the email blast soliciting donations
For the flower bouquet intended for the office manager
As she recuperates from her second facelift

He grimaced as he overheard Harold and Bud
Relive the company’s Memorial Day golf tournament
And how their wives got tipsy at the 19th hole

He directed his attention to initializing the memo outlining
Cost-cutting measures in superfluous expense categories
Like advertising and employee incentive programs

At eleven forty-five he picked up his anonymous sports bag
And looked forward to his daily noon three-mile run
Away from banal lunchroom chit-chat on weather and the economy

As he jogged along the trail around the company Rec Center
He forced a smile when Jim the groundskeeper called out
As he always did, “Have a great run, Mr. Prufrock!”

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