The Subordinate Clause

Junior, but capable.
Menial tasks dominate
Your working day
With their mundane diversity
And shared glance of frustration:
The single sheet of paper
He couldn’t be bothered
To retrieve upon printing
From three feet away;
The letter he asked you to fold
And envelop in its papery cocoon;
The thirsty plant he brought from home
Sat on his desk and parched
To an impious stink
Until he insisted you water it –
Just like you water him.  His
Endless calls for cups of something
(Coffee, tea, squash, water, milk)
Every conceivable beverage taken
In all possible forms.  Fickle;
His feeble tastes changing
From one day to the next
Just to trip you and trap you
With an unavoidable misstep.
Perhaps he did not receive
Sufficient attention in infancy;
Missed out, jealous of the other boys
With their doting parents, playmates?
Surely some great childhood trauma
Intervened somehow, to cause this
Arrested development?  Some event
Stunted emotional growth and maturity
To make him such a needy adult
Crying to be mothered constantly.
The paradox remains;
Self-important in matching socks
And padded shoulders.
Despising all the while
The weaker sex in the workplace
With casual put downs
Carefully couched comments
To denigrate capable colleagues
Whose sole crime is their very
Feminine mystique.
I hear him, wincing at the over-emphasis
Sweeping generalisation
Sniping at insignificant Susan with
His policy of PC imprecision.
Nudge, wink, snigger.
Calling you over, time and again
As if standing to speak to you
Is more trouble than you’re worth.

How my palms itch with the weight
Of the burden you carry.

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