Apocalypse III, 2020, fine art print on Hahnemühle paper with burns, by Miguel Rothschild
By Edgar Kunz
Late June and there’s a shortage
of air traffic controllers
in the Mid-Atlantic, ads plastered
everywhere I look. Competitive
Pay, Union Benefits. I already found
a job but I can’t break the habit
of hunting. I dig around and learn
that though the suicide rates
are astronomical, shifts are one hour
on, one hour off due to the extreme
concentration required. You get paid
both hours. My uncle used to work
for a company that was contracted
to paint all the nuclear power plants
in Massachusetts. Now he works
for a company that’s contracted
to paint all the T stops
in the greater Boston area.
They paint overnight when the trains
are stabled. Beats the shit
out of my last job, he says, plus
they got ping-pong tables
in the break room at every station.
They’re meant for the conductors,
but hey, what they don’t know.
My youngest brother quit his job
as a janitor at a middle school
to start a landscaping company.
Bought a crew-cab and a trailer
and a used ride-on mower he got,
he says, for a bargain. He’s staking
signs, building a client list—
mostly mowing, residential.
No 401k, he says, but at least
I set my own schedule. I take the day
when it rains, except to pry off
and sharpen the mower blades,
file down the burrs. Dullness
tears the grass. When you do it right,
it’s like you went out on your hands
and knees and snipped each tuft
with a pair of scissors. But fifty a pop
only gets me so far. Now it’s about
leveling up. Corporate parks, estates,
colleges. Like where you work—
that’s where the real money is.