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About this poet

Carrie Shipers is the author of Family Resemblances (University of New Mexico Press, 2016); Cause for Concern (Able Muse Press, 2014), selected by Molly Peacock for the 2014 Able Muse Book Award; and Ordinary Mourning (ABZ Press, 2010). She teaches at Rhode Island College in Providence.

Exit Interview

Not because of the hours or the pay, which could be worse.
          Not because of my commute into this office park,
                    or that no one else appreciates that phrase as much as I do.

Not the dim unholy hum of energy-efficient lights,
          recycled air with hints of garlic and scorched wool,
                    the break room fridge with its mysterious stains, open bottle

of rosé no one will drink or claim. Not the thousand
          bloodless paper cuts, copier that jams in high humidity,
                    the legion e-mails labeled Urgent, their emoticons

and useless FYIs. Not the spreadsheets and reports
          that are assigned, written, revised and never spoken of.
                    Not the tedium of meetings at which nothing is discussed,

managers who barely learned my name before
          they disappeared. Not because of everything that doesn’t
                    function—water fountains, window blinds, the entire

marketing department. Not even because of office politics,
          the gossip and jockeying, spats over power we don’t have.
                    Because the work I love is what I spend the least time

doing. Because I jerk awake at 4:00 am, my fists
          already clenched, have stopped feeling concern for coworkers
                    upset by bad reviews, sick pets or family cancer.

Because every shift in policy makes my life slightly
          worse, and I can’t find the line between caring too much
                    and total apathy. Because ever since I started here

I’ve been assured things will improve, but I’m afraid
          that staying means becoming bitter and entrenched,
                    unhappy but unable to move on.

Copyright © 2017 Carrie Shipers. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Southern Review, Spring 2017.

Copyright © 2017 Carrie Shipers. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Southern Review, Spring 2017.

Carrie Shipers

Carrie Shipers

Carrie Shipers is the author of Family Resemblances (University of New Mexico Press, 2016). She teaches at Rhode Island College in Providence.

by this poet

poem
I’ve always been afraid to fall—the rough 
embrace of the net, the crowd’s shocked gasp, 
my mother’s disapproval.  She loves me best

when I can fly, when I trust the bar, the leap,
the air and all my training.  From far away, 
every catch, release and tumble looks as effortless 

as breath.  Up close, we grunt
poem
Let the seats be plentiful and padded.  
Let the magazines be recent or let the book 
I’ve brought last until we can leave.
Let the TV on its bolted stand be off, 
muted, or showing something I can ignore—
weather, gameshows, CNN.  Let the room 
be mostly empty—no one shouting, sobbing, 
asking about my husband’
poem
	        After Marvin Bell

The Deadman speaks in sentences 
but rarely paragraphs.  He wears boots 
with silver buckles and walks 
without a sound.  His hat and coat 
exaggerate his height.  Unlike other 
wrestlers, the Deadman doesn’t need 
applause to prove that he exists.  
He mostly moves above the