When I Get Turned Down for the Job of Poet

by Elizabeth O’Brien

I’ll turn up the collar on my trench and saunter out.
I won’t mention my signature move
is disjointing my hips from the sockets
and slinking out of ballrooms; that on the side,
I’m night’s mechanic, the one on favorite, I.C.E.
adjusting the pipes, flows and spurts
up there. I studied Sky Repair in high school.
Hydrogen And You. I got a B but let me tell you,
I aced the final. My signature move
is whispering polari secrets into violin hollows.
It’s why they titter when I walk away.
I always come through with the best dish,
ask anybody, though usually
I leave that off my resume.

I’m a stellar typist, I do an asteroid belt
in ten seconds and I hardly breathe at all,
my signature move is breathing
without breathing. Filming without filming.
I can guess where you were last night.
And I saw how many cherries went in that drink.
My touch is light as a lie, which is necessary
to stop up a leaky star
leaking. Did I mention I have a Master’s
in flame-dancing and yes, the diploma
was drawn up in lemon juice, but light a match,
sure as whale’s blood on a mortuary floor, you’ll see.
I always ace the final. The floor is springy and now
it’s about to get lit up. Check out my signature move.

Copyright 2015, Elizabeth O’Brien

Elizabeth O’Brien is a writer living in Minneapolis. Her poetry and prose has appeared in The New England Review, Diagram, Sixth Finch, and elsewhere.

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