Issue 14
At Purdue You’re Still Called a Secretary

I hatch the mini tree with American flags

Crown it with a blue star in July—Everyone

For thirty years thinks I don’t do anything but I do

The professors’ travel, I process their

Receipts: snow makes blobs on the window

Then the sun scorches it away—my knees

Feel like they’re filled with blisters

I’m sitting on a bench, drinking soda though a straw

At 7:50 am, February

Pink ribbon stamped with hearts threads the branches

I am fifty two, I work for eight professors, I go downstairs to

Get the mail, I go to the business office to file

Papers and talk—The tree is plastic and twelve

Years old—Half my life I worked

In this room, I got bigger, I got so big

My body filled with burning water

It was like I was pregnant again, pregnant

With some other furious, crying self

Gold leaves cut from foil

In October—The girls upstairs said

I didn’t do anything, I hated myself for it, I

Started doing less, my enjoyments became smaller

Cake from the good grocery store

In the main office’s parties

I was screaming for somebody, I was on the garage floor

Several sheets of drywall had fallen

On me, I was a little lady then—

One leg was

Twisted, the other numb

There was blood from my head

I thought “This Is It,” I prayed to God, I undressed

My little plastic Christmas tree

And here I am chewing lithium pills

To forget my legs— Frosted silver tinsel

String of white lights