It is difficult to catch your breath
when you are always on the move.
During the daylight hours,
I navigate an endless parade of faces,
offering up firm handshakes
with bright smiles.
I am a perpetual traveler,
networking, networking, networking.
“Hello, my name is…” “Ah, you are…?”
“I suppose you know…?” “Fascinating.”
“Well, I should be moving on.”
When really, I needn’t; after all, where is there to go?
Another rented room?
Another Wi-Fi password for my battered laptop
(which, strictly speaking, belongs to the company)?
There is never a desk of my own
with old pens to be found in the back of a drawer;
instead there are closets consisting of empty hangers.
In the evening I stretch out on the bed,
trying to relax, huddled beneath white sheets
and something too lightweight to be truthfully termed a comforter.
Some nights I lie awake,
transfixed by the blinking red light of a smoke detector,
wondering if there is anything that distinguishes this one
from the one before,
anything to differentiate the convention halls or the people within,
gripping cheap cups of coffee as though they were our pulse,
each of us chasing after our own myth of happiness.
“This is what brings me satisfaction.”
“In roundtable discussions I add something.”
“I make a difference.”
This was originally published in Fall 2017 edition of The Helix.