AFTER OFFICE-DWELLING
jessica jacobs

By working faithfully eight hours a day, you may eventually                                          
get to be a boss and work twelve hours a day.

                                                        – Robert Frost


My office walls tall and with door, yet not
To the ceiling quite—gossip and sneezing 
Waft over, accompanied by the wheezing 
Of a neighbor's labored breath—
The mind-numbing thunder of the surrounding crowd—
But I am done with office-dwelling now.
Dark when I came in and dark now at close.
The scent of toner: I am drifting off.
Still I cannot rid my neck of the crick, the pose
I got from looking through this pane of glass
As though it were the window to some better place,
A crystal with a soothsayer's flash
Of a life beyond this four-walled space.
But I was well
Past the ken of such spells
And I could tell
What form my dreams would take:
Appearing and disappearing in a snowy heap,
Emails with questions I see
I can never answer, yet my fingers keep
The slick of smooth-crowned keys, 
The gnarled curl that marks a gesture useless.
I hear tray two of the printer going empty.

And I am awakened by the ghosted
Ding.  Ding.  Ding.  Endlessly.
As the imagined messages are posted.
For I have had too much 
Of office-dwelling; I am overtired
Of this career I thought I once desired.
There were ten thousand thousand words to write, to touch
To cherish in the hand, to share so to enthrall.
For all
That mouldered in no dearth
Of spreadsheets, hidden in the rubble
Of hollow paperwork sentences and deadly corporate-speak
Who lost their worth:
One can see what will trouble
This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.
Were he not gone daily by 4:30 sharp or sooner,
My assistant could say whether it's like his
Long sleep, as I imagine his weekends in bed till noon,
Or just some editor's sleep.


Currently packing for her big move from New York City to Indiana, Jessica Jacobs will soon be a student in Purdue University's MFA Poetry program. Her most recent poems can be found in Slice Magazine and &review and her verbal circumlocutions are posted semi-regularly to Worth Two Tomorrows, where she blogs about the shiny things that catch her eye.