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The Daily Grind

In the cavernous food court

Of their office building

The men in gray find their daily food

For the half hour, perhaps a whole hour

They allow for lunch

Between a phone call and the filling of a form

Calculating precisely how long the path is to retirement.

On plastic trays, they put hamburgers or ham sandwiches

The occasional fries also

A bottle, of juice, sliding dangerously

Threatening to spill the whole tray

If not caught by a spasm of hunched shoulders.

From plastic chairs attached to plastic tables

They occupy their tired minds

With a strategic view of a TV on the wall

Playing something they will soon forget.

A man in black, the word SECURITY on his back,

Walks by

Making sure, in his silence

They are happy and undisturbed.

Oh, how they long for retirement

As they adjust mentally their calculation

Glancing at their watches

Dreaming of doing what they want

The enjoyment of the rest of their lives

In the tranquility of a well-furnished living-room

Free to choose from the day’s options

After a late breakfast

Grinning from a coffee mug at the radio’s traffic report.

With those happy thoughts they rise

Empty the plastic trays and pile them up neatly

Walking unhurriedly

To phone calls and the filling of forms.

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