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  • Hannah Seo

thoughts at the end of a much-too-long shift

1 I read on the stall of an airport bathroom

that nothing is ever original. My thoughts pennies pressed out of

one of those gaudy

souvenir booths: worth

neither the medium with which they were crafted

nor the energy

used to carry them to their final

resting place. Pockets

heavy but mind light, I concede to nap

on the grass by a parking lot and call it

rest. You would think with all my fancy education

that I would understand bi-ology or psych

-ology or the

-ologies of what it means to be

a stalk of wheat, or a forsaken water-bottle

in a landfill. Instead my synapses fire

on pre-set conditions that die

with a nap, or one (too many) glasses

of whisky. At the ripe old age of ripped tennis shoes and crumpled coffee

receipts even I can understand

that what grows up must lie down.

2

Tying your hair back is always an adventure because you never expect

when the elastic snaps

back to whip your wrists which

is kind of a messed-up

life lesson. Every day is a practice

of decisions and revisions and

too many fatalities. Memento mori, and god

bless us every one.

3

In a bowl of alphabet soup I searched

for a sign — and I saw

myself in the foreboding “M E”, though

the “E” was

upside-down and possibly

part of some

less-telling configuration.

It is surprisingly difficult

to differentiate the profound from all this

utter nonsense.

4

In second grade I pinky

promised my loyalty to a boy with a long pale

face who I am convinced was the grim reaper.

5

I tried to learn tidying up from a book

passive-aggressively gifted to me by

someone who is never around. Unfortunately, I can never tell which thoughts

bring me joy and so never know which

to throw away. The soup marks on my jeans

are a neo-postmodern

Rorschach test and now all I can

think about is why Tide pens never work

the way they say they will. I drop a handful of

change into a tip jar and pray

my stains are impermanent.



Originally published in Paragon Press, Aug 2019.

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