The Boss Who Fired Me During the Recession

“The Boss Who Fired Me During the Recession,” a poem by Bethany Pray (poetry, ’88) appears in the Spring 2013 issue of Ploughshares.

Describing her, I say, she’s a Modigliani face-wise
but when she walks in her custom-size narrow boots
she minces, or half-dances like a pony,

the sort of pony who is dear and a little silly
and wears a hat with a ribbon.
A little of this and a little of that – lacking a territorial integrity,

she slides vertiginously from apprehension to sourness to glee.
She told me she had a wandering eye as a child,
but in fact, she still does.

To think she doesn’t know how the one eye floats out
to the right, or that resulting air
of being wholly lost.

Frankly, Cubism is painful, as much for the viewed
as for the viewer:   the girlish gewgaws
and the monkish face above

and the fixed, unaligned eye.
She looked out at us with the other eye.
To her we were as paper, without dimension,

viewed as the Cyclops viewed Ulysses
and his men in the cave –
foreign, and a scourge.

Visit the magazine’s website for more from this issue of Ploughshares, including “The Complex Sentence,” a poem by faculty member Tony Hoagland.


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