She slumps over, forearms

          spread on the desk, thick mascara

          and lilac shadow weight her lids.

          Just tell me what to do, she pleads.


          Hopeful she’ll complete 

          this one assignment,

          I squat at eye level:

          Tell me what you’re thinking.

          Talk to me.


          As she describes a mountain range

          of rising and falling plot events, 

          I glimpse the face she buries

          beneath layers of makeup and inertia.

          I beam, she smiles – a ripple

          of clear, bright water washes over us.


          No, I’m not going to do it.

          I don’t like to think.  It’s too hard.

          Shadows fall, eyes shut.




                                                                         Jodi Hottel