By Judy R.

For J. L.

By day in a tower
with windows frozen shut
I breathe dry, canned air
preserved in steel and glass
where I ascend at high speed
for the boardroom to suffocate
while our heads untethered
from their suits pronounce
words like “objectify”
or “systematize.” In Human
Resources a sign says feelings
need not apply. Day’s end I leave
feeling less visible than dust.
By night in a basement
with doors swung open
to characters of my
own kind, we tell stories
of our broken ways, like
a tribe around a campfire–
a circle where love is breathed
not always spoken. I share
the day another boss said, “Go,
go right now.” We laugh, again.
Then someone gallant and intent
as Inspector Clousseau glides across
the room, takes my hand, kisses
me on one cheek, then the other
and without a spoken word
makes me feel seen and heard,
makes me feel…

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