I once took a job as a metaphor for colonialism. "I want you to populate the cells in Column C," the boss said. "Alone?" I asked. "What do you mean?" she said. "I mean, even Adam had Eve." She smiled as if she'd just kissed a snowman. "It's not that kind of job," she said. I spent the next 3 months populating cells. Some I filled with chickens, others with broth. Some I filled with old Irish ballads. In one, I placed a lone crutch and a snapping turtle. In another a pig mask and a scythe. One day the boss came to my cube. "You're done," she said. "We'll send your pay." "But what about the other columns?" I asked. "If you did your job right," she said, "they'll populate themselves." A week later, when I went to my mailbox, it was filled with bones.
Charles O’Hay is the author of two collections—Far from Luck and Smoking in Elevators—both from Lucky Bat Books. His poems have appeared in over 125 literary journals, including The New York Quarterly, Cortland Review, Gargoyle, and West Branch.