It's a secret who got laid off from PARC last Tuesday
(but no secret to those of us who like to gossip).

Layoff is no longer part of our corporate lexicon.
"Participation in the productivity initiative"
is the new phrase I like the best.

My father lost jobs one after another.
It was a regular occurrence, a force of nature,
like the foul red tides in the summer.

I came home from school one day and dad was painting
the mailbox sea-foam green to match our front door;
he had paint on his sweatshirt and in his thin blond hair.
My best friend's dad lost his aerospace job at the same time
and her mom was ashamed to go to Safeway
with the crisp fifty dollar bills from the unemployment office.

forward          anywhere         lines