Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2012 v11n1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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She’s forgotten to call
her mother. Stayed in bed

hours too long. She’s left
the garden’s tomatoes

to rot. She’s woken up,
still loving the wrong

man. Of course, she’s forgotten
to eat. Then later, shaking,

she’s plied the near-empty
vending machine with coins. She’s taken

whatever she can get. Today, she’s gone
to an office, sat at a desk.

Head pounding, left eye twitching.
She’s taken pills to calm

the thrumming skull. Today,
leaving, a young man has stuck his hand

in the closing door of the elevator.
I’m sorry, she’s said. As if she was

supposed to know he was coming.
I’m sorry, she’s said. Do

you want to know a secret?
he’s said out of nowhere. Sure.

He’s told her he’s pushed the alarm button
over and over. It has rung

many times in her head.
Nothing will happen, he’s told her.

No one will come.The elevator door
has opened onto a room of desks.

Suited people have raised their heads
from documents and screens.

Yesterday, at group therapy,
she was made to repeat:

I am worthy. She’s had to do
this every week. She thought it

stupid until it wasn’t.
Maybe next time after saying it—

I am worthy—she’ll remember the faces
beyond the elevator. Their asking: who

is sounding this alarm?  end  

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