17 x 12 x 8
by LB Sedlacek

I spent all day in the ER waiting
room watching a Spanish boy beat his
fist against the window. His Mama
kept yelling in Spanish. He would
just giggle and keep pounding. The
noise made my knees knock together.
It was Sunday. The cafeteria was
closed. The TV screen was green.
The picture reminded me of the
Pong game that you could play on
your TV. Two long white blips
for paddles and a white square
ball. Someone threw up in the
Ladies Room. An orange sign
told me to turn off my cell
phone. It was not a problem.
I don’t keep it charged.
My voice mailbox is always
empty. A few years ago I
used to get hotel reservations
when their number was one
digit off from mine. I watched
a couple use a cell phone
underneath the sign. I heard
about people’s migraines and
UTI’s and high blood pressure.
I had cookies from the vending
machine, stale peanuts from my
pockets. I made a stick from
straws when the fan in the
vending machine room blew
my dollar underneath the soda
machine. It was a lot of work
to get that dollar back, but
it paid for half of a turkey
and swiss cheese sandwich. I can’t
sleep when I worry so I read
magazines upside down and
closed my eyes and opened them
again to see if the light had
changed. I couldn’t read my
own handwriting. I filled out the
forms too fast. It was Sunday.
There’s nothing you can do about that.

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