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the table

beware, the rectangular slab
squares you

the table is a prison

to take you through
interminable years
hew at rocks, polish the chains,
stare at white walls till
you see black lines;
a peculiar number-juggling

for great talkers to corner you
to prove their wit
(and your lack of it)

the touchstone that shows
you’re not working if you’re missing
and they’ve got long tubes of eyes
that follow you home

to take you through
circuitous years
same forms, same deadlines, same surveys
same complaints, same compliments –
and same old story again, and again

simply a wonderful spot for all of them
to put you in your place
where William Tell makes you keep still
to improve his aim

beware, the rectangular slab
squares you