After I was diagnosed with my small, pathetic,
life-defining and intestinally experienced
stomach disorder, I had to interview the police
chief in some second-rate town on my beat
for the inconsequential, lower-tier newspaper
that was my life, my only reason for being,
how I justified my existence to the men
I tried dating and my contemporaries, far
more successful. I was there to ask why
his cops neither arrested nor questioned
the slimy school board member ordering
his men and women, in effect using taxpayer
dollars – or shall I say, reusing them – to tear
down her opponent’s signs and put up her
billboards, or maybe it was about the school
board’s authorization to hire child molesters
as Janitors; what’s the difference, these
stories always turned out to generate the same
kind of storm and I was an awful navigator.
In his office I saw a package of the over-the-counter,
palliative, pseudo-treatment prescribed to me,
and I was sorely tempted to ask after its efficacy
since he was likely a fellow sufferer. In all fairness,
I should note this transpired as my career was
tapering off; it didn’t matter what I wrote; nobody read
or cared, least of all my immediate supervisors.
All I wanted was to do my job without the running
commentary that accompanied every decision
I have ever made in my head, go home to my cat,
bury my face in a pillow and scream until I had to
get up, and do it all over again. But on this occasion,
I resisted such small talk, the politesse that might
have ingratiated me with the hope of cultivating
more scoops of potentially similar earth-shattering
impact and I got right down to business. And on
that day, I became a lady.

Jane Rosenberg LaForge writes poetry, fiction, and occasional essays from her home in New York. She is the author of four chapbooks and three full-length poetry collections; a memoir; and two novels. Her most recent novel is Sisterhood of the Infamous, published by New Meridian Arts Press; and her new book of poems is Medusa's Daughter, from Animal Heart Press.

See more of her work in 9.2

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