25 November 2010


For day 21 of the PAD challenge. Prompt: A "permission" poem.

Yes, in as many words as that,
the forms, filled in triplicate,
tucked neatly away. Where? You

do not need to know--perhaps in
the dead files, the contracts cancelled
by those who cannot fly

and she recalls the file cabinets,
row upon row, their metallic ranks, some sticking, some
so loose they would bruise your

shin and catch upon your stockings, the
fine dust from the carbons coats her
hands, the telex shudders as the

yellow tape, now perforated, chugs,
chugs the message through to
Budapest, behind the wall, received

on the other end as she
and the other (so junior) assistants
re-apply blood lipsticks in a nineteen-thirties
washroom, heavy-mirrored, honey-gold color of
the furnishings outside so warm as to

suffocate as the Borden woman
swings down the hall, her bronzed
offspring (late of some Grecian islands) performing
oh-so-perfunctory filing

and tuneless whistling fills the air,
and there's a job, he says, for you
in California, whenever you want it

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