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  4. At the Office Holiday Party by Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz
At the Office Holiday Party

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I can now confirm that I am not just fatter
than everyone I work with, but I’m also fatter
than all their spouses. Even the heavily bearded
bear in accounting has a little otter-like boyfriend.

When my co-workers brightly introduce me
as “the funny one in the office,” their spouses
give them a look which translates to, Well, duh,
then they both wait for me to say something funny.

A gaggle of models comes shrieking into the bar
to further punctuate why I sometimes hate living
in this city. They glitter, a shiny gang of scissors.
I don’t know how to look like I’m not struggling.

Sometimes on the subway back to Queens,
I can tell who’s staying on past the Lexington stop
because I have bought their shoes before at Payless.
They are shoes that fool absolutely no one.

Everyone wore their special holiday party outfits.
It wasn’t until I arrived at the bar that I realized
my special holiday party outfit was exactly the same
as the outfits worn by the restaurant’s busboys.

While I’m standing in line for the bathroom,
another patron asks if I’m there to clean it.

Poem copyright ©2009 by Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz from her most recent book of poetry, Everything is Everything, Write Bloody Publishing, 2010. Reprinted by permission of Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz and the publisher. First printed in Rattle, Vol. 15, no. 2, Winter 2009.
At the Office Holiday Party

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  • Poet, writer, and slam performer Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz was born and raised in Philadelphia. As a sophomore at the New York University Tisch School of the Arts, she became interested in poetry slams and cofounded the weekly series NYC-Urbana Poetry Slam, still held at the Bowery Poetry Club. Her collections of poetry include Dear Future Boyfriend (2007, 2011), Hot Teen Slut (2001, 2011), Working Class Represent (2007, 2011), Oh, Terrible Youth (2007), Everything Is Everything (2010), and The Year of No Mistakes (2013).
    Aptowicz’s nonfiction books include Words in Your Face: A Guided Tour Through Twenty Years of the New York City Poetry Slam (2008) and Dr. Mutter's Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine (2014). Her interest in Mütter, an early American pioneer in plastic surgery and founder of the medical museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, led her...

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