Her New Job in West Lake

Her New Job in West Lake

She didn’t think about the location.
Just that it paid $15 an hour
And she needed money.
The next step to freedom.

She didn’t think about the mean girls
Who drove her out of school
into the arms of an eating disorder

Or the ravaged friendships of her youth
coming home from college
seeing her behind the counter,
stitched together by every 
antidepressant modern medicine has to offer.

I had to remind her, “west lake? Are you sure? You may see someone…”

She began to cry.

So I forego the usual parental wisdom: “Be on time, be respectful, work hard.”

Instead, “it’s just a fucking job. If it gets too hard, you can find another.”

But I, too, am worried.

so I wait outside.

I’ll be waiting outside for the next four hours.

praying no one remembers her,
or if they do,
that they remember her fondly
Friends, no foes.
A joyous reunion.

Or at least -

that the queen bees and gangly teens leave behind only grease from the chickens slaughtered

and the world moves on as it should

without hurting my daughter.

- E.P.
12 - 17 - 2022
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