You’re Hired

James Viggiano

I. Training

Soft pop – 80’s, 90’s and early 2000’s rock
Sample tested for home improvement purchases.
Huey Lewis and the News’ Hip to be Square
seeps between aisles. Patrick Bateman agrees
this soundtrack is perfect for power tools.

My body is accounted for in the training room.
Informational videos drill
characteristics about carpet and stained carpet
pad, carpet pile, carpet conditions, carpet life.
The actor says carpet over and over again.

II. Introduction to Sales

I interact with customers shopping car-
pet. An optimistic young couple with
a dog and hope for kids wants car-
pet that will get ruined, suck years
of spills and piss stains and that day dad
throws mom’s boiling macaroni
across the house.

A tall moon-burnt woman asks the difference
between laminate and vinyl. She’s walked on raw
slab for ten years. Her aging back feels the hard
steps and frantic pacing and constant vacuuming
concrete erosion sands
and cat hair and she
She explains the exterior of the house is beautiful, strong,
brick, the walls, doors, windows,
she goes on.
She calls her trauma a flood that revealed
a crack in the foundation the builder overlooked
An ID badge hangs from her neck.
The portrait is a young, sun-tanned woman.
Whatever curse fell her a decade ago

III. Review the Warrantee

Back in the breakroom
I’m instructed to choose a locker.
The only box left ajar has
the name tag Marvin with
RIP written in thick, black
permanent marker, You will be

I think it’s a retirement joke
but the longer I stare, the metal gills
tagged in grief graffiti
whisper bad omens.

The Days Without Incident clock
remains at ten.