The phone call shocking
but not unexpected.
For the past week
fragments of alarm had cut through the static.
In truth she was like talk back radio
not correctly tuned to a station
a constant irritating buzz of shallow populism.
Hard-working and vicious
aggressively seeking out misfortune
hand delivering packages of ridicule
to the most reliable of distributors.
Workplace mistakes offered delicious satisfaction
in a fast and busy environment
the potential almost unlimited
deceiving new employees into foolishness her favourite – an art form.
Monday morning the telephone’s stridency
cuts through the locked door
a jumble of keys, briefcase and hand piece
a distraught daughter, asking for confidence and an appointment.
A suicide attempt and late night resuscitation
currently in intensive care
awaiting transfer to a mental health unit
a request not to inform the workplace.
Three months pass
resignation ceases to be a state of mind
and becomes a reality
her return coincides with the changeover.
People have been suspicious about the absence
but information has remained the property of one.
I am three days from history when she returns
on the second
she tells my replacement I was hopeless.