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.