It was like being on parole –
everybody in the workplace knew,
knew I hadn’t quite met the standard –
was the least unsuitable –
was on a renewable contract: performance dependent.
The days went quickly,
work fixed and flexible
50% on projects ….
50% spare part – where needed. And when.
Different people, different standards, different expectations ….
most are kind,
By rotation I am assigned to Paul.
We are the same age.
Both in first workplace.
Both from education –
me university, him high school.
His father works here too.
We talk questions – where and when – no who. Not yet.
New waters are too shallow to floatfor conversation
self esteem has a prepared speech …
about his father,
and his father’s friendship with the director.
Insider trading. He wants me to know. He knows I already do.
“I started as a temporary – digging out stumps – I’ve proved myself.”
“I don’t work with my old man … most days I don’t even see my old man.”
a disfiguring birthmark he can’t not announce.
Or let uniform cover,
or stop picking.
Sympathy thinks dog and lampshade
and resolves never to emit the odour of nepotism.
One evening beer soaked tongues confide my nickname –
“ the lucky bastard.” – conferred by Paul.