Two Poems

I Left My Vibrator at the Women in Management Recipe Meeting

Once, we got our periods unexpectedly in the bathroom at work. Once, we used cookbooks to make things like dessert quiche and hamburger casserole. We used to want to be chefs and writers and personal assistants. Now we pee where the big girls pee. We slide our cell phones on the table like light-up cocks and watch our nails bleed from taupe to cranberry. We have been wearing pantyhose long before Kate Middleton grew breasts. And besides, hosiery highlights the calves. The way legs slope into nothing. Our glass ceiling is splayed with silver starbursts. Our territory is a hotel lobby flecked with eggplant and farmer’s market tomatoes. Now we excel in Excel. Now we text our textured cardigans into the office with soy milk. Now we march down halls in two-toned heels. And the recipes equal caprese salad with a cage full of submissive man-boys and calculated eye contact.


The Target Customer Almost Tangoes with her Cashier

Juanita,               I think we’ve tangoed before
Only last time I was leading:       “Hello, how are you today?”
But I have none of your sass. I am too chicken to kick my legs, purr
“The United States thanks you, miss,” when a business woman
throws down two hundred dollars and steps away all staccato.

I didn’t have the guts          to use shopping bags for babushkas.
I wouldn’t have sung so loudly or so high. I would have dyed
 the gray streak
instead of wearing it like a beauty queen’s sash as you do,
I think we could have done things together. Me with my splotchy laughing face
and you with those quick comebacks
—“you lucky, lucky betch!”
Juanita, I think there is a couch for us in the back room and a cold soda
rattling in the vending machine. We’ll let it spray sugary syrup            all over
and then let our customers drink our skin. And straws?
Both of us know that the rolled up receipt has more suction,
more pull                 than plastic. You have a real nice day too,

—Emilie Lindemann, Newton, WI