Edward Hopper's Office at Night

The boss is sitting at the desk the boss doesn’t look
            at her the boss is waiting for the black telephone
      to ring she also waits for a ring from the boss he is
                  waiting for the files from her
 
her blue dress like a reused file folder around
            her body her hands tight around the files
      the filing cabinet might eat her might take her hand off
                  the boss might eat her the boss
 
wants her but the boss wants money more just a little bit
            more the boss always seems to want
      the money a bit more the boss doesn’t hear
                  there are taxis outside waiting
 
for all the women down on the street across the street
            a boss prepares for bed another boss above him
      in apartment X rotates a Q-tip in his ear before sex
                  despite instructions on the box we took
 
my father out of the paper the living will the letters
            with their little capes will leave the paper
      who will take care of my children later who will take care
                  of my father the will will take care
 
of no one a piece of paper cannot take care of anyone I
            cannot take care of everyone on some nights
      I wake in a panic and can’t tell if I am dead or alive
                  this year I dye my hair so I won’t have to die

Victoria Chang, "Edward Hopper’s Office at Night" from The Boss. Copyright © 2013 by Victoria Chang.  Reprinted by permission of McSweeney’s Publishing.
Source: The Boss (McSweeney's Publishing, 2013)
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