Just an everyday workplace tale…
Autumn in a Call Centre
When the boss gave out autumn in home-made envelopes,
sour yellow and sellotaped,
the Success Team withered.
“But we stuck to the script,” they choked.
The boss said nothing, but stood
scratching her back against the photocopier,
her breath a hot slug of paprika.
HR looked up a policy, then shrugged.
When they opened the envelopes, November knifed them
with its stiff north-easterlies,
red maple leaves spreading from their chests.
They dropped to the floor, rotting.
The boss stepped over them in her wide-fit stilettos,
her face waxy, like a butternut squash.
“The shoes,” she hissed. “You all wore the wrong shoes,”
and she walked out into the April sky, wheezing.
An earlier version of this poem (then called “Autumn in an Envelope”) was published by Snakeskin Poetry.