We're celebrating Cranky Co-Workers Day with a poem from Stephanie Lenox's brand-new collection, The Business. Print out your own copy to put up on your office fridge, and post a picture for #CrankyCoworkersDay. (We did!)
Attn: To Whoever Left Fish Uncovered in the Office Fridge for Three Weeks, THINK OF OTHERS!!
There are many ways to start a war.
Take, for example, his assistant’s short-short skirts.
Or the sign on the bathroom door that reads,
If you sprinkle when you tinkle
Be a sweetie, wipe the seat-ie!
No wonder no one likes poets.
Meanwhile, paper clips disappear
into a parallel universe,
your stapler each morning is turned
ever-so-slightly to the left—it’s psychological warfare!
Soon enough all whispers sound like your name.
You are blamed for the broken coffee pot, and as a result
it will be months before the others look you in the eye.
How hard is it to replace the toilet paper roll?
Isn’t that what we mean by community?
Above the cubicles, little flags of dominion,
little flags of surrender, but no one will tell you
which is which. The intern says something
about “economies of scale.” Because of this
we avoid him in the lunchroom.
(He won’t last long.)
Here the accountant’s perfume creates
a hostile work environment. Someone is going
to HR about the dead plant in the corner.
Some rules should never need to be explained.
In the afternoon, the microwave chimes, and someone
distributes handfuls of popcorn, a bag
of fluffy and butter-soaked aneurisms we all can share.
Stephanie Lenox is the author of Congress of Strange People and The Heart That Lies Outside the Body, which won the Slapering Hol Press Chapbook Competition. Her awards include artist fellowships from the Arizona Commission on the Arts and the Oregon Arts Commission. She teaches creative writing at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon.