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Photo by Lucas Seebacher on Pexels.com

It’s a familiar panic
the fleeting feeling when I reach in my bag
and my keys aren’t there.
Wait, they are there on the desk, right?
No, in my jeans’ pocket? Jacket pocket?
Did I loan them again to that kid who never has his?

Panic deepens, rooting like a dandelion in cement
cracking my day
I check every compartment
with no luck
There is a long lanyard
bright maroon, school colors, of course
It’s so I don’t lose the keys
in my bag
in my pocket
on my desk
but it is nowhere to be seen,
to be felt for
and when I shake the bag, there is no jangle
of so many keys.

What did we say?
Ten thousand to re-key the building
if some idiot loses their keys
Gulp
I need to find them now

Gulp.
Panic subsides
or converts to a minor mourning.
I turned in the keys
on my last day.

Am I still a person
a productive member of society
without work keys?