“Dress for the job you want” is the customary advice,
but I don’t know of a shirt that would convince the trees
I can protect them from the developers that long
to clear the way for the construction of condos.
What kind of shoes can you wear that are sensible
enough to earn my place as the colleague of the
red-winged blackbirds who flap away in panic, or
the squirrels who scramble with every step I take?
My jeans are old, well worn, barely presentable,
but in some respects the ideal uniform to complete
a test assignment of picking up all the wrappers
and ratty plastic bags scattered next to the creek.
I realize a ballcap is poor attire for most candidates,
but I can’t look the sun in the eye as it beams down
like the toughest interview question, revealing the gaps
in my career history, the skills I lack for this role.
Maybe I shouldn’t have put on anything but a fig leaf,
suggesting I could finally fill the spot Adam left vacant.
For now I just sit before the selection committee that
is the grass. Hard to say which way they’re leaning.
While in escrow we’d failed to realize
the house sat directly above the subway.
The rumble never became noticeable
until everything we owned was in place.
People told us we’d get used the sound,
and we did, giving all the commuters
snaking underneath us no more thought
than the seeds, the soil or the sewers.
But occasionally the boisterous force
of some subterranean train was such
that the wine glasses began tinkling,
the sound like a periodic peal of laughter
or invoking the custom after a wedding,
the clinking a signal for us to stand up
and show how much we love this life
we’ve chosen, this journey undertaken.
© Shane Schick
Shane Schick is a journalist and B2B content creator based in Whitby, Ontario. His poems have been featured or are forthcoming in Juniper, Blue River Review, Stanchion Literary Zine, and others. More: ShaneSchick.com/poetry. Twitter: @shaneschick