red thumb-tack

when someone escapes
from the halfway house
i have to walk down
to one of the administrator's offices
and grab their file.

during my shift
they're long gone for the day

i unlock the office
flip the lights on
sit down at their desk
and pull out the file cabinet.

i'm in the new guy's office:

been here
a couple months

doesn't look people
in the eyes

mostly talks
in the banalities
of college football.

i get the file

close the cabinet

and notice
a little red thumb-tack.

sticking out of the edge
of his wooden desk
like a dagger.

the whole length
of his desk
is honey-combed
with stab wounds.

must be a
thousand of them.

jesus christ,
i find myself
whispering out loud

running my fingertips
across the desk.

i pull out
the thumb-tack

look at it close

and try it
in some of the holes.

jesus christ,
i whisper
out loud again.

"officer hyde

officer hyde
to the control desk,"

the intercom

snaps me back.