The vent whistles and blows the papers from the desk to the floor—all those checks that need to be signed, all those welcome letters to be mailed, the return address label page missing an entire row. The carpet—littered with eraser dandruff, bent paper clips and crumbs from my Poptart— needs to be vacuumed. The filing cabinet with its open mouth calls, file, file, organize this shit. Instead, I slip the Leonard Cohen CD into the computer. “First We Take Manhattan” begins and I dust and vacuum and wipe. The window sill is filled with dead flies and grit. The lever on the office chair is caked in dust. The blessing bags for the homeless are piled underneath the table—all their strings knotted together. When the doorbell rings, and the man asks for help, I hand him four bags instead of one—too lazy to untwine them. He says, “I don’t need all this,” and I think, none of us do.
Cat Dixon is the author of Eva and Too Heavy to Carry (Stephen F. Austin University Press, 2016; 2014) and a chapbook, The Book of Levinson (Finishing Line Press, 2017). She teaches creative writing at the University of Nebraska, Omaha. She has poems (co-written with Trent Walters) in They Said: A Multi-Genre Anthology of Contemporary Collaborative Writing (Black Lawrence Press, 2018).