My life’s controlled by swelling paper piles:
rough drafts go here, and syllabi right there,
that one’s for worthy causes I should care
about, this one’s for frequent flyer miles
and credit card reports, the run of bills
that tell me what my spending limits are.
The journey to insolvency’s not far,
so should I save or spend it all on thrills?
I’ll tell you what my greatest thrill would be --
to live without these piles, all orderly --
or maybe just a neater symmetry --
no more receipts gone loose, my desktop free,
no more piles on the floor or in my bed.
Don’t even ask what piles dwell in my head.
[ALLISON JOSEPH, the Editor of Crab Orchard
Review, is a Professor of English at Southern Illinois University in
Carbondale, Illinois. She is also the author of five collections of poetry:
the forthcoming Worldly Pleasures (Word Press); Imitation
of Life (Carnegie
Mellon, 2003); In Every Seam (Pittsburgh, 1997); Soul Train (Carnegie
Mellon, 1997); and What Keeps Us Here (Ampersand, 1992).]