I ride down from the 60th floor

from the white shoe law firm

of Simpson Thatcher and Bartlett.

I stand next to a waspy-looking young

Associate in a Brooks Brother’s suit.

My face is mirrored in his spit-shined

wing-tipped shoes, reminding me

of how I never could get my shoes

shiny enough to please my Sergeant

during basic training at Fort Dix.

I’ve heard Associates at prestigious firms

are worked to the bone, on call 24/7.

When I asked him how he felt about

his job, he surprised me;

“ At least I’ll never have to break my back

working with a pick and shovel.”