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$500 Hiring Bonus!

The police come every night,
marshal the parking lot into lines
of low beams. The interstate is incapable
of absorbing the holiday glut of us,
our temporary bodies. Unchecked,
we’d cause a zipper merge from here
to the county line, so we’re diverted
to multiple on-ramps, each route
inscribed with miles of taillights.

We clock in before dawn, out
with the sun a distant memory.
We’ve evolved past seasons, we’re told.
Outside, the floodlights burn eternal,
ignite snowbanks heavy with exhaust
and cigarette butts. Nothing ever rests.
Incandescents, fluorescents.
Day shift, swing shift, night shift.

Beyond the reach of artificial daylight
and the cop cars strobing neon
in a nauseating flicker, the shadows
stretch and dissolve. Our headlights
turn flurries into twisting mirages
as we jam the roads with desire:
for overtime pay, for sleep, for home.
For an uncomplicated darkness,
bereft of any light save the moon.