Your steps echo in a vast hall,
grey lit and empty except for some plastic seats.
Photographs cluster on a blackwashed cinder-block wall:
Try to chat with the other recruit.
Like you he sits in a pale seat and wears a navy blazer.
Follow the tour to a long, hushed room
where rows of metal tables bask in blue-white light,
each with a draftsman, bent
motionless over his task.
Old blueprints are evaporating in the chilly air.
You shiver wearily and head for the stair.
Sullen clouds are creeping above the skylights; inside rumbles
the various grays of production:
concrete floors, ducts, rolling bins,
parts, machines, workers in coveralls,
a polished steel fuselage.
A power tool squawks.
The elevator awaits . . .
You hear the clinking of glass and porcelain?
Smell the vague sauces as the doors slide back.
Select a dish from the cafeteria cart.
Stand in line.
The windows moan;
Outside, fretful winds buffet weeds in a tiny courtyard.
Contribute smally to the hum of voices,
review the scores. Are there other choices?
where unseen cigarettes smoulder under uniform light and low ceilings.
A coffeemaker hisses, and you feel perfumed feet
in the carpet beyond the partition.
A coin-faced man in grey and tan
hands you a standard application.