poetics unleashed: susan rosalsky (2)


Temp’s Last Lunch

In love with the boss again, she watches doggies on her lunch hour,
Her pockets filled with her cold word processor’s hands.
At the drugstore she samples polish, wondering, again, which he would like.
On the left blue Memory, the right all pink Desire.
Has he ever once imagined them, her deep-nailed hands as they stroked out
his words? Has he never
Though of her that way, the way she has of him?

Today she begins:
She had the sort of fingers…
She had the sort of fingers that could etch a heated trail upon the flesh of men.
She had the type of touch that could make a man forget himself, if only for the hour.
As merciless as a long-clawed tigress, as gentle as a soft-pawed pup, her grasp was

Deprived of what might be desired and then of what would be recalled,
she is twice divided, while her absence, that slut, gets around;
the chair, the computer, the desk where she sat, all of it soon empty of her.
At the office, he suddenly speaks. Marie, one last memo, before you go?
And already she misses his large, wooden desk
and her self on her knees at his drawers.
Oh, fly, fingers, fly.
Give him something, anything, to remember you by.


Dear Mr. Solitude

For a long time I thought we were happy in your
ghostly company: a lonely little
firm of you and me. Filing was my specialty;
I had a reputation and a corps
of standing drawers, those tombs, containing all that
I had buried deeply there for you.

Forgive the hysteria — I’m just a silly,
graying goose — but to what end did I spend
my years a shade in the well-lit house of youth?
Why did I remain in your employ despite
your cold rigidity, while outside the city
glittered with the complicity of all

except us? I was in love with you! so gifted
in the art of distance. How bitter then
to see it wasn’t me or my assistance that you
wanted, but the world itself. And the flies
made, those hanging graves? You longed for all
they represented, while remained invisible

to you. But I know of other situations.
Of a firm where they appreciate a
girl who knows the term self-sacrifice, that hires
all who seek as long as they can pay the
price, presided over by a boss more stern,
more deadly cold, than you could ever be.


Originally published:
Issue Fifteen
November 2001


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