Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Third Excerpt

Then, Now

I did not have a bathtub,
and I gripped hope in both my fists
and prayed for it to leave.

I had a shower door waterproofed with duct tape.

I teetered to work on high heels, dodging dog poop
that sat on ice-covered sidewalks between
narrow channels of snow.

I worked behind a counter.
Customers cursed and shouted at me and
made it clear
they did not trust my competence.
I was lower class, you know.

I gripped hope with both my fists and
prayed for it to leave.

I have a bathtub now.
I try to relax in deep, hot water,
but I need silence and
the drain has a minor leak.
I have a tub, and that is good, but
I go mad.

I have a car. It shakes and
knocks always, and
dies when I step on the brakes.
I have a car, and that is good, but I
am always afraid I may not.

I work behind a desk now, quietly
and at my own pace.
My own pace is never fast enough,
and though I know my field better
than anyone,
it is the woman who's been here longer that people go to
for answers.
Her answers always supersede my own,
even on my projects.
I do not work behind a counter, and that is good, but
though I am not lower class anymore,
I am still second class.

Every improvement in circumstance is real
and good,
and I am grateful.
Grateful even as I am angry,
grateful even as I scourge myself for
my ingratitude.

I know even as I question, question it that
I am not that bitter crackpot happiest when miserable.
I know this, know it, know it.

Yet I am bitter.

I grip hope in both my fists.