At the Office Holiday Party
by Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz
I can now confirm that I am not just fatter
than everyone I work with, but I’m also fatter
than all their spouses. Even the heavily bearded
bear in accounting has a little otter-like boyfriend.
When my co-workers brightly introduce me
as “the funny one in the office,” their spouses
give them a look which translates to, Well, duh,
then they both wait for me to say something funny.
A gaggle of models comes shrieking into the bar
to further punctuate why I sometimes hate living
in this city. They glitter, a shiny gang of scissors.
I don’t know how to look like I’m not struggling.
Sometimes on the subway back to Queens,
I can tell who’s staying on past the Lexington stop
because I have bought their shoes before at Payless.
They are shoes that fool absolutely no one.
Everyone wore their special holiday party outfits.
It wasn’t until I arrived at the bar that I realized
my special holiday party outfit was exactly the same
as the outfits worn by the restaurant’s busboys.
While I’m standing in line for the bathroom,
another patron asks if I’m there to clean it.
About the Author:
Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz is the author of five books of poetry (Dear Future Boyfriend, Hot Teen Slut, Working Class Represent, Oh, Terrible Youth and Everything is Everything) as well as the the author of the nonfiction book, Words In Your Face: A Guided Tour Through Twenty Years of the New York City Poetry Slam. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Aptowicz moved to New York City at the age of 17. At age 19, she founded the three-time National Poetry Slam championship poetry series NYC-Urbana, which is still held weekly at the NYC’s famed Bowery Poetry Club. Most recently, Aptowicz was named the 2010-2011 ArtsEdge Writer-In-Residence at the University of Pennsylvania.
American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation , publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2009 by Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz from her most recent book of poetry, Everything is Everything, Write Bloody Publishing, 2010. Reprinted by permission of Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz and the publisher. First printed in Rattle, Vol. 15, no. 2, Winter 2009.