Plastics are on my mind, floods. Any pause
in the conversation, I come up with some
Sorry Business, Aboriginal term for mourning.
Doleful, that’s me, no small talk, not unpleasant,
but my idea of intimate is apt to be some
terrible statistic. I can’t say Susan
is feeling better or Eileen’s arm is mending
without adding but she has a preexisting condition
or but she’s got no insurance (as if getting the facts
straight makes it all right). I’ve got no banter,
I’m all judgement and edges, an edgy white lady
wondering what to do, what to do next
as in Jesus is coming, look busy.

Elizabeth Poreba is a retired New York City high-school English teacher. Her poems have appeared in Commonweal and the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion among other journals. Wipf and Stock has published two collections of her work, Vexed and Self Help: A Guide for the Retiring. Her latest chapbook, New Lebanon, is available for advanced order at More of her work can be found at

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Published in the May 2023 issue: View Contents
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