The lonely streetlight reaches
through the half-open window, into
the corner office, strokes the white wall,
the metal file cabinet, the fine, round ass
of the secretary snugged in blue. Its
glow casts the words scrawled across
the letter in high relief. They shout
at the man who clutches the letter
in both hands. She’s onto us,
he says to his new love,
his “true love,” his voice strangled
as the words grip his throat.
Oh baby, the woman pleads, let’s get out
of town, leave this crummy office behind
and start fresh. Maybe California?
I got a sister in LA.
The man doesn’t answer, doesn’t move,
silent as the typewriter on her desk
a yard away from his, the distance
like an ocean for so long, when all he could do
was stare into the endless blue of want,
adrift on the ship of wife and family
until one day she threw him a line:
Wanna go for a drink? He’d been
drinking her in ever since, each swallow
his death and his salvation.
The woman has forgotten what she wanted
in the files. She clings to the cabinet
to keep from falling, her dark eyes
smudged with tears. His silence is louder
than the first clap of thunder.
Grab the umbrella, she thinks,
here comes rain.
Elya Braden took a long detour from her creative endeavours to pursue an eighteen-year career as a corporate lawyer and entrepreneur. She is now a writer and mixed-media artist living in Los Angeles. Her work has been published in Algebra of Owls, Calyx, Gyroscope Review, Rattle, Willow Review and elsewhere. Her chapbook, Open The Fist, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. You can find her online at www.elyabraden.com.
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