Unemployment (1)

By Mark Levine Mark Levine
I had a calling.
I took the call.
It was all I could do to follow the voice streaming into me
Like traffic on the runway where I lay
Down to gather.
I had a calling. I heard the geese bleat
In the firmament as they migrated
Into the jet’s jets.
And could I have foreseen that falling
I could have fallen too
Rather than being sutured to the bottomless
Freeze-out lake.
For it is fine to lie within one’s borrowed blankets
Looking up at the
Dropped ceiling coming down.
For at the moment I am employed counting the holes
In the sound absorbing tiles
Keeping a running record of the interlocutor’s
I feel at one with extinction
By my own hand
(Inner hand)
Though once there were many of my kind
Flocking inland, or perhaps
It felt that way.

Source: Poetry (July/August 2012).


This poem originally appeared in the July/August 2012 issue of Poetry magazine

July/August 2012
 Mark  Levine


Mark Levine has written three books of poems, most recently The Wilds (University of California Press, 2006), and a book of nonfiction. He teaches at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Activities, Jobs & Working, Social Commentaries, Class

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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