The Dead Line
The last day to apply, to submit.
Latitude will be permitted for the latter;
the former, a petition in order to proceed,
I fear. This is where dread mixes with
peevishness: an embarrassed, oblique anger.
Otherwise, the words would kill, immolate.
Whoops! Too late! Step aside.
Others prefer an opening, perhaps a simple question: “How long…?”
The listener is surprised at the answer’s duration, followed by regret.
Social cues are a useless strategy, feigned distraction more effective.
It is good to be ignored. Grace and mercy.
“I never make the same piece twice,”
the first fawned over like the bauble it is.
“I ignored the instructions and instead gave you what I think
you should want,” always a good move with more of the same.
Out with it: “I’m narcissistic.”
The joke fails like a nose on a paper plate commentary
is glossed over because of something remotely
shared, the rhetorical complement taken as simpatico.
Et tu? Thank you.
The audience peels away, one by one, no bones about it.
But what if no one, save the gatekeeper, was in attendance to start?
“We look forward to reviewing your completed dossier,”
like a vapor disappearing into a darkened corner.
“Wait! I have so many questions!” If it were an oracle instead of a bureaucrat, I would have more patience with the misplaced punctuation, and to what, exactly, the phrase referred,
perhaps even resigned.