Register Monday | April 22 | 2024

It's Five O'Clock Somewhere

Miranda would not hope or stand. She spread her arms and legs out

across the tiles nearly spanning the width of the corridor repeating

“not permissible this is not permitted.” Disgusted I walked away.

I stayed. Laid my body down.

LABOR, by Jill Magi

The blinking light on the office answering machine; the message

from a hesitant young woman asking about a missed appointment

for a Subaru. This office’s previous occupant is dead

but his commute lives on, needs oil, needs rescheduling. The yellowing

professional association pamphlets in the back of the filing cabinet

say “crisis,” as they have always done. I am a replacement

for a part that used to come with an assistant. You have reached

the voicemail box of the person I work for. What calling

is this, exactly. Galen describes an atrabilious patient struck down

with a fear that Atlas, who supports the world, would become tired

and would throw it away and he and all of us will be crushed and pushed together.

Think of the children! Think of the customers. We must remain

awake and individuated. Of course as far as I know, the heavens

held themselves up just fine before the war. Divine make-work.

One of these days we’ll have a say in what happens

to us. Until then, I do some gardening, work disguised as recreation

but an image, too, of disentangling the systemic from the fruits

of disposition, though cleverly, everything flowers and the shoots

of everything seem the same light, welcoming chartreuse. I keep

trying to convince the earth that I can do more for it than provide

a cloak in the exact dimensions of my prone body. In those

intermittent hours, even through the chasms that stretch, deep blue-black,

between them, one might even come to believe in a glimpse of affect

beyond scarcity. You don’t have to be happy to be happy.

Kimberly Quiogue Andrews is a poet and literary critic. She is the author of A Brief History of Fruit (University of Akron Press), winner of the Akron Poetry Prize, and BETWEEN (Finishing Line Press), winner of the New Women’s Voices Award. She teaches creative writing and American literature at the University of Ottawa and you can find her online at