10:55 am: just barreling through space
at a million miles an hour on my swivel
chair editing some dimwit’s proposal. Four
conjunctions and five prepositions
in one sentence. ONE SENTENCE.
Non-sequiturs abound and it’s time
for me to go full-fledge nausea
so I begin to contemplate whether I’m more
of a conjunction or a preposition.
Truthfully, this isn’t even my job.
I’m not supposed to be here and certainly no one else is
going to review these edits.
I just snuck in one day when I had nothing to do
and happened to be wearing a black mod dress,
all harmless and Asian with a sincere craving
for corporate air conditioning.
In fact, I was in mourning
and when I stepped into the office building,
it simply felt so nice!
You know, misery adages, etc.
Anyway, I can’t leave now
there’s a printed name badge on my cube and I hate
to see paper go to waste. Also, I’m beginning
to figure it out: I’m a conjunction. An ampersand
to be precise. Almost certainly. A disorienting inkblot
tangled in its own orbit that shoots off
into zero gravity before ending very abruptly.
I am imperceptible in my own hands.
It’s a relief to have these kinds of thoughts
straightened out. Having finally found some
balance, my appetite starts to pique, so I
walk to the pantry where Betty, my desk neighbor,
has posted a threatening note: “To whomever
accidentally took the Trader Joe’s falafel
that clearly was not yours, please kindly return it and STOP
grocery shopping in the refrigerator.”
I open the door. I see the falafel.
I take it.
Kirsten Shu-ying Chen is an NYC-based poet currently pursuing her MFA at the New School. She founded the artist collective BTP and teaches a creative writing workshop at the Ali Forney Center in Harlem. Her work has previously been published or is forthcoming in Anamesa Journal, Artist Catalogue, Best American Poetry blog, Seventh Wave, and VIATOR, among other publications.