The Woman In Accounts Payable

I generally shy away from poetry about the office, but sometimes the subject is too rich to ignore. Here’s a new poem mine recently published in the online journal Amaryllis.  It’s called “The Woman in Accounts Payable:”

The Woman in Accounts Payable

The woman in Accounts Payable
gets cancer of the stomach.
She shows up at the office
one afternoon,
hugs those near her cubicle.
She tells them it feels
like an anchor, like walking
with an anchor.

Then she’s gone three weeks
for chemotherapy.
We all sign a card
for her to get well
but we all know

They ask a month later
for us to donate
some vacation days
to help her keep
her sick
So we do.

Six months passes.
We work our office hours,
days swimming into
nights swimming
into mornings
drowning in dark lakes
of meetings.
We live to drown.

Then one morning another woman,
a younger woman,
sits in the empty cubicle
in Accounts Payable.
They introduce you
to her but you forget
her name.

She seems like
another team player
who works with integrity and pride,
with sufficient ambition
and just the right amount of drive
to swim awhile
or keep from sinking
until another swimmer
comes along.

The theme is easy enough and pretty straight forward, so I’ll simply point out that I don’t often take advantage stylistically of the potential space on the left margin in my poems, so I hope doing it here in line seven created the type of effect I was going for–namely the pause and weight of words and the idea of sinking (of an anchor) down to the next line.
Okay–I can’t help myself.  One more thing.  Notice that stanzas one, four, and six are all linked through the associative images of water.  It allows the poem to link thematically through the narrative parts of the poem.  It allows the poem to become more than a reporting of events.

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