D S Maolalai

The Plan

“I’ll work here”, he told me

“for a few years at this level,

and then I’ll move up;

I’ll get a qualification and then I’ll move up

to the next level, middle management,

and I’ll work there for a few years. tell the people at this level

what to do. shits like you and me. I figure

a few years at that level

doing that

with bonuses for getting this level to achieve their goals

and I’ll be able to afford a pretty decent size place

outside of the city, and a good car,

and a car for my wife to drive around in. and a dog,

of course we’ll have to have a dog. and a big tv. and then, a few more years of that,

with experience, and with some decent connections,

and I’ll get up another level, and then I’ll be telling the people

at that level before that what to do. that’ll be good

when I get to that level. I’ll be able to do whatever I want then,

at that level.

I’ll be able to take all the time I need to go on holidays,

go see some sports if I want to. hey, did you see

the blue jays game?”, he said.

“last night? did you see those home runs they hit? oh yeah, no, you don’t like sports, do you?

what is it you like again? books, right?

I’m practicing being personable. that helps

if you want to get anywhere.

you want a coffee? I’m going to get a coffee.

you want coffee?”

and I swear to god he was younger than I was.

and healthy, and sometimes even good to talk to.

but all this rambling about the plan to pull a career

out of our middling call center office dispatch job,

if you thought about it

you’d only get depressed.

I’m 25, I kept thinking, I can’t have a career yet;

hell, I’ve never even been to India.

never seen a hawk kill a sparrow in a field.

while he’s studying for the job

I go and drink wine with actors until 3am.

there are places in Norway where it’s morning all day.

I want to go somewhere else.


were the sun stays on the horizon

for 3 months at a time.


D S Maolalai recently returned to Ireland after four years away, now spending his days working maintenance dispatch for a bank and his nights looking out the window and wishing he had a view. His first collection, Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden, was published in 2016 by the Encircle Press. He has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.
Read more from him:
My Sister Writes —, on Nine Muses Poetry
Carver Says, in Fourth & Sycamore

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