Today's poem is by Rob Cook

Market Research Interviewer

That summer I had to push my voice into the phone
            to make it work, the Lotus I-2-3 survey

for CEOs, twenty-five minutes of questions
            with no answers, just guesses and ranges

and scales that kept changing, do you strongly agree,
            agree, disagree, or strongly disagree that night

takes longer in Montana than on the current
            spreadsheet program, do the help features

make the vacations longer, the foraging
            into the software deeper,

the numeric wilderness, the digital families of buffalo
            spreading between files—yes, no, or neutral.

And I found new kinds of sleep
            every time the secretaries put me on hold

five, ten, twenty minutes, and I stayed there
            in the music, the fake blonde choruses,

the autumns that kept changing their songs
            waiting to be told that Mr. Lundy or Mr. Overcast

or Mr. Skillings was in a meeting, could I leave
            a message and I just said to tell them

Luke Skywalker had called,
            and the humidity on the other end was so bored

it believed me: I'll do that, Mr. Skywalker,
            and you have a nice day. To my left,

Eric, the recent college graduate, typed into
            the comment screen: When was the last time

you met a human who didn't leave the taste
            of dung in the mouth of your soul

but the girl sitting to my right, with both the shape
            and voice of a cloud,

liked how I swallowed soda without my neck moving.
            We made up

an air-conditioned sweatshop game
            for the phones we called in California and New Mexico

to tell us if July, as a human being and a place to live
            was above average, average, or below average

and if we would ever again eat in the countries
            beyond summer, and when the heat ended

nobody welcomed us to the school year,
            but still every morning I liked her

and every morning she said hello as if it was the last word
            and already falling apart in her mouth.

Copyright © 2016 Rob Cook All rights reserved
from Diary of Tadpole the Dirtbag
Rain Mountain Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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