Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Temp Poem

Upon coming into someone else's desk
Which she will occupy, for three months,
She considers what to set down of her own.

Should she ignore the pictures left behind?
The newspaper comics (Cathy and One Big Happy),
The post-its with numbers for someone else's dry cleaning,
Reminders that the dog needs its heartworm pills?

On the first day, she tiptoed gingerly, afraid to upset anything.
On the second day, she brought in a small photograph
Tiny enough to hide behind a coffee mug.
The women in the nearby cubes,
No doubt alert to any change in the environment
(Cupcakes down one aisle, a haircut in the corner)
Somehow notice.

And they ask her questions, first about the photograph
("he's so good-looking!")
And then about her.
And then they tell her where to go to find the cupcakes.

So now she is buffeted on all sides;
The cubes of women stepped away from strangers,
Stopping by to ask advice about how to silently persuade a husband
To purchase a black onyx necklace for a birthday still six months away
("You'll have to tell him, somehow," is all she can offer)
And, more importantly, the eyes in her photograph
Taking her past the itchy walls of the cubicle,
The reflective paradox of the monitor,
And the reminder that Tuesday the twenty-second
Is an unknown church's potluck dinner.

Because of those eyes, she will stay.
Because of that smile, she will smile.
And tomorrow, into a tiny hidden corner,
She's thumbtacking up a poem.

1 comment:

Daniel said...


so so so sorry I haven't been reading lately...Life's been WAY crazy lately--with sicknesses, moving of one's boyfriend, and realizations that one's parents are coming to town THIS weekend (so one's apartment must be cleaned).

I hope you had fun in NY...it was fab to see you...we simply must do it again! How was Gutenberg?