The Applicant by Charles O'Hay

The interview had gone
badly
so I took the first door
that said
EXIT
without noticing the words
FIRE or ONLY
that embraced it.

In the stairwell
hundreds of echoes
zoomed
like swallows
in a chimney.

When I got to the ground
floor
I pushed thru
the first door that said
OPEN
without noticing the words
ONLY IN EMERGENCY
that followed.

An alarm chased
all the swallows
into the beautiful
street.

I never liked office work
anyway.


Charles O’Hay’s work has appeared in over 100 literary publications, including Mudfish, Cortland Review, and New York Quarterly. His first full-length collection of poems and photographs—Far from Luck—was published in 2011 by Lucky Bat Books (Reno NV).