A Fable: A Poem by Shana Ross

Office conference room
Photo by Damir Kopezhanov on Unsplash

A Fable

I worked in an office. I was middle management. Mostly powerless in every direction, but I was given a title, two extra vacation days, and a portion of blame to eat like sin or maybe hide under the rug. I was handed some plans. A manila folder, a baton, a relic signal to seize and run. I read my lines like a second-grade thanksgiving play: earnest and awkward. An odd configuration of fictions, but pleasant enough on the surface that we agree to call these facts. This plan. Is it allowed? There was a quest to find out, and I was called to it. For days I asked the people in bigger and bigger offices, with their shiny nameplates and increasingly impressive views. They nodded and told me they would be helpful, and they set up more and more meetings, with other people. Each person was more expert than the next in knowing if the plan was feasible. I won’t deny, back then I believed the two were related. But could was never the question I was asking, nor should. Fifteen years later I woke up panicked, the need for permission still with the keys to my house, and me with my locks unchanged. All my past scurrying and triplicate forms hung in the night air like they had burned beyond ash in the thurible.

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