Culture | Lit supp part 6


anna trowbridge

Big Deal

A good mile-and-a-half from the office, and I’m still stuck on that look given to me by the newest kid on staff. Stan was going around introducing us all and the whole time this guy was staring at me. Even Cheryl noticed and she doesn’t notice much besides keeping her eye on how much time’s left till lunch. Of course she thought he was checking me out – I bet she’s gone as far as thinking we’ll be doing it by Christmas. I know different.

The kid is cocky, with an awful case of nerves. That’s a funny mix: well-dressed, with his hands in his pockets, not so impressed with our office (newly renovated) – but dancing side-to-side, practically off-kilter he was so full of jitters. His name is Jeremy, studied business at Waterloo, which is a big deal, I hear. Good for him, I say, though I can’t imagine it’ll be very useful. The work here is pretty specific. I didn’t have too much trouble getting the gist but I’m smart with this kind of paperwork, doesn’t get me all flustered like it does some people. I just get through it, look over most things once or twice, and make my way home. Don’t think about it after that. Kids like Jeremy worry about work their whole lives. I’ve met others like him straight out of school. They stay two years, never really get the hang of things and then go back for their next big degree. It’s strange that Stan goes on hiring them. They must make jobs up on the spot for the kids, too, because often there’s time in between: the last one before Jeremy, Kristina, she left last December and now it’s September and the kid’s only just arrived. That means half a year his desk is empty, and no trouble here.

I bet Cheryl’s going to spread to the whole staff that Jeremy and I were making eyes at each other. That’s just the kind of thing she would do. And everyone would be excited by it because it’d be like a T.V. show where everyone is having sex all over the workplace. Well, I won’t be taking off my shirt in the supplies room. I’d never do a thing like that. All I want is to be left alone to do my job, and for everyone else to do theirs, too. Stan’s said he thinks I’d make a good boss. That won’t happen, things being set the way they are, but he’s right – I would. Sometimes all it takes is to know you’d be good at something and not have to do it. When you get into the habit of having to prove how good you are, that’s when you start worrying.

I don’t get the feeling that’s obvious to most people. Jeremy, for instance. What’s been bothering me this whole time is thinking he might’ve felt sorry for me. There he is, knowing I’ve been here the four years he’s been in school and that I’ll be here when he leaves. And he thinks that’s sad. Maybe he thinks I’m simple – that the reason why I’m comfortable is something to do with a narrow head, or too much T.V. and not enough books. Well I can tell you I read dozens of books. And I get every single one. They’re all saying the same thing over and over, but I read them anyways because I don’t mind hearing it. I don’t mind hearing that you’ll never see the big picture until it’s too late. And it won’t all be what you thought it was. Why a person would try and guess I just don’t know.


francesca bianco

A visit

I came to see you,

after four months.


had to get a pass to go


I brought towels.

The clothes you peeled

off hung like loose skin,


from an older sibling.

We stretched out on

the hospital lawn,

where the heat

found our oiled

bodies quickly.

I couldn’t stop looking

at your hips,

at your shoulders protruding

like the handle bars of a child’s bike

and I could follow the sunken

line between flesh and bone,

the places where your body

sucked itself in,


its breath,

how even the sun

made you sad, your

doll face keeping its eyes

almost closed, lids stirring

wildly, a staccato off the beat.

And then I was driving

home in the winter,

through the maples

that lined the road, their


limbs reaching out

into the white expanse,

waiting silently,

for spring.


samuel woodworth


Drowsy roll of America thru

Hooksett, Croydon, Enfield,

past bulrush pockets and height

of snow lazy White Mountains –

Stars charade for anyone

right outside this bus window

and alone women play

with wedding rings.

Heavyset hairy man holds

against checked flannel breast

his tickets for travel,

a big ole hungry tongue

jus’ goin’

like me

and you too

under silenty banana moon.

We have come together

to night’s heavy swung gate.

The land, America,

sings, “Ooohyahdannieee,”

and sturdies back

on hind hips to see

who will walk

with openest eyes

so alone

up the road.