March 2005 / Volume VI / Issue II
Ellen Moynihan

There has always been that one day on the job,
no matter which one it is–
bookstore clerk, publicist,
tenant organizer, waitress, bartender–
when I confer with the wise, quiet core of myself
and acknowledge what I already know:
I need to get the hell out.

I need to, immediately, go up to
whoever’s in charge, let them know
my intentions, then walk out the nearest door
and out into the world, enjoy some fresh air.

Economics has always prevented me from doing so, though.
Rent, telephone, electric. Food, subway fare, cigarettes.
The prudent advice of never quitting until you find something new.
That’s the smart way to do it.

It won’t be forever.  Reinforce through gritted teeth,
know you’re not long for this, suck it up and stick it out,
take increasing refuge in your secret with yourself,
take solace in your plan.

You know, though–
there’s a great deal more satisfaction in
not taking that advice, and not working one day more than you want to.
There’s much more relief in stopping whatever you’re in the middle of
and walking away from it.

And the electricity, they don’t shut it off for at least two months.