On Monday she’ll have to tell him

he can’t count on her any more,

not after that meeting ––

angry faces of people still there

after the first round of firings

and then the others and now this,

clamoring why them, why theirs ––

the rancor over what was left,

what if anything could be saved,

what would have to be dismantled.

She’ll have to tell him Monday

you’ll need to find another job by June.

Two small kids, new baby

born the week his father died.

It’s not you haven’t done a good job,

it’s not about who you are or what you do

or what you need or others need from you––

It was her job to tell him.

Susman has published in state and national literary journals and is the author of five poetry collections. A member of Cool Women performance poets, she retired as professor of English from Caldwell College a year ago and now gives readings and workshops in Central Jersey.

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