Small Talk

I walked into the break room
this morning
and overheard a conversation
between two older guys
waiting for their shift to start.

One of them was telling a story
about some former co-worker
of his who went in
for knee surgery the other day
and died right there on the table.

He was only a week into
his retirement.

The other guy listening stood up
from his chair and said,
“He might as well have just stayed
at his job and kept working!”

Then they both started laughing
and headed out the door
toward the time clock,
leaving me with nothing else
to listen to but the chatter
of my inner thoughts.

Gabriel Bates is a poet living in Tiffin, Ohio. His work has appeared in several publications, online and in print. Keep up with him at Read other articles by Gabriel.