Arielle Greenberg

When You Feel Like Crying at a Faculty Meeting

A job is what you can hold in the palm of your hand—


           here, son, a plot of land, a lamb in its wool


You can ball it up


           It can ball you up


(a cut star said it another way)


           so we are packing boxes        I am leaving leaving leaving


Handcuffs of velvet, handcuffs of gold


           Feeling my water


Putting on my silver (like Joni in “Carey”)


           A rounder tree said you are going toward, not running away


A terror is what I hold behind my left shoulderblade where there could be a vestigal wing,

hurt I was born with


           A secure job is a body memory


A voting bloc is not a community, either


           They are making proposals and I’m writing this down


Even so I’m paying more attention than the one in the corner who cannot comply


           No one is getting married today


Are my teeth just chattering? 


           How many dollars for less time outside the home?


And what work will I do what work will I do what work will I do


           Really means money


Is the job in the field?


           You know I think yes I am going toward more working in a field


Green grass, lamb—oh let’s not with the pastoral


           But it’s there              it’s open


A completely unlocked unknowing



“When You Feel Like Crying at a Faculty Meeting” first appeared in Spoon River Poetry Review, 36.2.