The Vocabula Review

April 2008, Vol. 10, No. 4 Wednesday, May 4, 2016

A Poem Janna Layton
Web version

A Retired Businessman's Reply to a Racy Magazine Questionnaire

I slept with X., my younger, former boss—
platonically, I swear. We're straight. I can
explain. You see, he fired me. Little snit.
The adolescent dared to axe me. Hell,
I worked for half his lifetime there. Of course
I sued for wrongful termination. X.,
to hasten resolution, flew first-class
to my vacation home in Maine. We hoped
to settle all. Oh sure, we'd fought, but still,
we'd laughed as one at Tony's budget plan
and dined together many times for work.
But even after beachside lobster lunch,
we bickered. So we drove the Bentley deep
into the woods, deciding hiking would
be helpful. Nature's soothing, right? It worked.
We calmly spoke, we joked, we patted backs,
and planned to celebrate with steak that night.
And then it hit us hard. The Bentley—where?
Before an hour had gone, we fought again.
"We didn't go this way." "I know the path!"
The kid declared he saw a shortcut up
a slope. I warned him vainly. Soon he'd climbed
towards the top. He fell, of course, and yelled.
It's strange, but when I rushed to rescue X.,
I thought of how no child had ever called
for me. His ankle hurt, a likely sprain.
I bound the joint, my cashmere scarf the wrap,
and helped him hobble down. We found the car.
And seven minutes later—bang! —a flat.
We couldn't call; no cell-phone signal reached.
I knew his friends and family and chief
financial officer would worry. One
interminable hour of limping passed
before we saw the bed-and-breakfast. Thank
the Lord—the night was cold. A single bed
was free. Too tired to mind, we settled down.
"I'm sorry 'bout the firing." "Well, I did
embezzle." "Thanks for fixing up my foot.
It's feeling better." Twenty-six, a child.
My settlement was generous. I bought
another house—Quebec. But here I sleep
alone, and still no children call for me.
But yes, I've slept with somebody from work,

If you enjoyed this poem,
let your friends read it, too

Janna Layton

Janna Layton :: Move me   Janna Layton is a receptionist in Northern California. Her writing has been published or is forthcoming in publications such as Blue Unicorn, The Pinch, Red Wheelbarrow, and Umbrella. She also publishes interviews with poets in Mimesis.

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