Daniel Mor­ris­sey

The London Magazine - - NEWS -

Re­turn to Work

You: perched in an ivory pul­pit, a shrew in wire-rimmed glasses. Me: bound to an of­fice chair, a spaniel wind­ing his wed­ding ring.

You hack at the generic di­ag­no­sis on my cer­tifi­cate,

in­sin­u­at­ing I’ve bluffed a doc­tor, clear­ing your­self of blame –

but your gnarled-knuck­les are blood­ied from twist­ing my gut and flush­ing my pulse.

Here in this nar­row room, with neat piles of thumbed pa­pers

cov­er­ing your bench as you judge,

you re­cite para­graph num­bers; quote “pro­fes­sional stan­dards”

from a dirty-mauve hang-file of half-truths and con­jec­ture.

You spit bil­ious faux com­pas­sion and in­nu­endo,

peel through like an ex­e­cu­tioner check­ing a slip-knot.

I’m a vet­eran of a sim­pler time, when CCTV and key­stroke log­ging;

traf­fic-light spread­sheets and risk as­sess­ments; didn’t pos­sess me ‘til mid­night –

in a bell jar with ever de­creas­ing walls and no door,

nor hatch in the floor.

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