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I Quit

A poem

I quit my job of five years

So that I could watch the sun stream through the heavenly-blue shades

Luxuriate in fresh brewed cups of espresso from my kitchen

Not because my boss self-medicated with prodigious amounts of alcohol

Needed babysitting day and night and designated me his right hand man


I quit work that I loved and made me proud

Because I needed to get reacquainted with Father Time,

a precious commodity I no longer knew

I didn’t leave because one day two superiors ambushed me

And for hours disparaged my work, my character, my essence


I left behind a regular salary and health benefits

So that I could pop into art galleries that dot my neighborhood

Visit a museum for the first time in years and catch a matinee

I didn’t leave because I was computer weary from trafficking 400 emails a day

Including nights and weekends


I walked away from a family of colleagues

People who had become an integral part of my life

Because I wanted to be a good friend again

Not because a board member cornered me one day

Grinning boyishly as he touched me where he shouldn’t

Gestures I chose to keep secret


I stopped working in an office in a chic Manhattan building

So that I could sleep as long as I wanted every day

Walk anywhere without feeling overwhelmed

Not because I refused to sign the sham human resource papers that put me in a bad light


I quit my job

So that I could define myself in many ways, not one

And after six months I can heartily declare

Happiness is more than a fleeting moment in time

Happiness lives

Happiness is freedom


Amy Barone

About the Writer

Amy Barone’s new poetry collection, We Became Summer, from New York Quarterly Books, will be released in early 2018. She wrote chapbooks Kamikaze Dance (Finishing Line Press) and Views from the Driveway (Foothills Publishing). Her poetry has appeared in Café Review, Gradiva, Paterson Literary Review, Sensitive Skin, and Standpoint (UK), among other publications and anthologies. She spent five years as Italian correspondent in Milan for Women's Wear Daily and Advertising Age. Barone participates at spoken-word events in New York City, New Jersey and Philadelphia. She belongs to PEN America Center and the brevitas online poetry community that celebrates the short poem. A native of Bryn Mawr, PA, Barone lives in New York City.


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