A man with a stopwatch stares
at my hands, his thumb on the button.
He is timing how long it takes me
to take this part, put it in my machine,
push two buttons, take it out.

He is trying to eliminate my job.
But I take a second or two
to scratch my balls.
Got to allow time for that,
I wink at him.

He shakes his head,
his bright orange earplugs
wedged in tight.

I guess finally it’s not him
who decides. He seems reluctant
to meet my eyes, jotting quick notes
in the aisle.

Somebody somewhere’s got a watch
on him too. Somebody’s put us both here
where we can’t hear each other.

:: Jim Daniels, Punching Out (1990)

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