THEY THREATEN MY LIFE by Ron Riekki
It gets old. I’m going to kill you.
It gets old. They don’t kill me.
I get old. And older. All these
crap coffee jobs, jobs where I drive
when there’s no traffic, all
apocalyptic, getting there when
the moon is still making out
with the fence. And then these
coworkers who tell me if I ever say
that again, I’ll find myself dead.
I make a complaint about hostile
environments at work and the boss says,
Fuck hostile environments. Every job
is a hostile environment. That’s what
makes it a job. And he tells me to get
the hell out of his office. And I do.
I’m married to minimum wage. A vet.
How, as a vet, I can always get a bad job.
They put you at the head of the line
for the bad jobs. The good jobs, they don’t
care if you’re a vet. I go to a job interview,
they ask me if I’m OK with working at night.
I am. Am I OK with working in bad neighbor-
hoods? I am. They send me to the neighbor-
hoods. I find out it’s where I live. Where I
grew up. My childhood here. They ask me
if I’m OK with working alone. I am. I never
work alone. They always make me work
with someone who tells me he hates poetry.
Good to know. Tells me he loves guns.
The opposite of poetry. Talks about cars.
One night, he says he’s going to kill me
if I don’t shut up. I think about it. I say
something. I say, go ahead. He eyes me.
He snags my eye into his. I wait. The nights,
I’ve found, are useless.