by Angie Mazakis

Whenever it’s a day
I have to be dressed up
I walk in like I’m walking
through the grand hall with friends.

Except for when I’m late.
Then I try to walk in as though I already
walked in twenty minutes ago.

Four labels, three magazines.
I’ve come up short all day.
Ten orders, nine books.

We all leave our offices to move boxes,
which no one likes, but everyone’s
grateful for any change of course,
and in the storage room, I’m holding a box
with both hands, and I blow a piece of hair
out of my face, and I imagine a new
intern, Bill, let’s say, will
later tell everyone that that
sweet moment was the moment he
fell in love with me. And then I turn and smile
the smile that will coincide with the power note
at the end of the opening credits of
my reality show.

I spend a lot of the day rearranging
sharp objects so they’re not pointing
at me or someone else. Incidentally, one
other person at the office also has this phobia. 

I add “Made copies” to The Overarching
Timeline of My Life.

I go back to my desk and I write to
people all day, “Sorry for the difficulties.”

Even when I’m scanning Williams-Sonoma
online, the knives on sale are pointing
toward my office mate, Anne, toward her head, so
I click off the page fast, call out, “Christmas
is coming!” and Anne says, “No it’s not,”
because it’s September.  We’ll see, Anne.

Someone on the phone is placing an order.
She lives on Deception Circle. I pretend
to be suspicious of everything she says.

“To Whom It May Concern,” I read in an
address-change e-mail request,
“I’ve moved and am changing my name—
reverting back to maiden.”

I add “Faxed something” to The Overarching
Timeline of My Life,

which comes after that moment I could finally
put the Chuck E. Cheese head on without gagging;
after slicing a thumbnail while cutting
bread for a carryout order and never finding it;
after watching the shoplifters pour DVDs into a shopping
bag shelf by shelf and run out the door;
after not getting to the windshields on the conveyer belt in time
and just watching each one crash and crash in waves
of glass on the ground, the sharp ends pointing
in the direction of all of us.

Photo: Angie Mazakis
Angie Mazakis was born in and grew up in Fort Wayne, IN. Her poems have appeared in or are forthcoming in The New Republic, Boston Review, Best New Poets 2008, New Ohio Review, Smartish Pace, NOÖ Weekly, and Drunken Boat. They have most recently received a 2010 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize and second prize in the 2011 New Ohio Review Poetry contest.