At the Agentís Office


I was dying to drown excess qualifiers
in an ocean of obedience. Had she unfairly
become an Iowa Workshop persona non grata,
did she have a Great American Novel
contained within her belly, instead of the
baby she obviously never had? She was
too slim, her hands and feet what youíd
imagine a laureled poet from the South
to expose daintily to grateful aging fans.
She offered me Darjeeling tea, and I stared
at the plastic plants hung out as the real deal,
willing her to flip to the most traditional
chapter, where I resort to P.G. Wodehouse-like
imbalance of terror, give away family secrets,
hold nothing back to meet editorsí desert
thirst for stories that refresh. She rustled
a few more pages. I felt less sure of my
distant personal link (sisterís roomieís
last loverís sponsorís fate). She looked up
once or twice, smiled a mysterious grin
and I couldnít be sure if she was inviting me
into her inner sanctum, or drumming up freelance
hard labor jobs I might deliver on time, and with
clearly identified beginning, middle, and end.


 Anis Shivani