Work Emergency


The phone receiver crashes down,

echoing urgency upon the desk.

Like a synchronized swimmer,

the chair pushes back, twirling,

my body twists,

my toes point, pushing down

through the carpet, down

on the foundation,


then up,

my legs finally pulling my body

out of the chair.


Exiting my room I take four steps

and enter her office.

She is large, puffed up,

steaming. She speaks,

forcing the words carefully

from between clenched teeth,

and tight lips.


“I’ve been trying…” she huffs,

“for hours, but it won’t….”

she can’t continue, pointing instead

at the humming offender

that lives two feet over

amidst the paper jungle on her desk.


It looked at me, its one red eye

proclaiming its very need. It hummed

and whirred, whining, wanting

what she had failed to give it.


I patted it once, then

popping it open,

stuffed it until it was full,

and slapped it shut.


She stared at me wide eyed, mouth

agape, as it erupted.


“Next time,” I said, leaving the room

“be sure to check the paper.”

Lovingly dedicated to Theresa Barton, my old boss, a mentor, and a friend