Abduction | Lois Roma-Deeley
Gabriel trips over his high tops, spills into the room—
his silver lip ring quivering like a tuning fork.
He’s 20 minutes late.
I’m eying the big bosses striding through the room.
No one moves.
But the kid knows what to do.
He sits down at the desk, plugs himself in,
his headset shining in the florescent light like a halo.
Every day, six days a week,
420 minutes on the phone, 120 cold calls, 20 yes, yes, yes-es
makes our quota.
When I first heard his voice floating over the cubicle wall,
I began to understand why his mother named him for an angel.
But tomorrow in the break room,
just before I give my quitting speech
and just after I close my eyes, plan, again, my move to Paris,
he will tell me, again, about the aliens.
They taped my mouth, hooked me up good—
there were so many blue wires, so many red tubes…
I ask him why—and he always says he doesn’t know why—
they came for him. Then he’ll rock back and forth,
arms wrapped around both legs;
he’ll say how he saw his very own smile in their wide fly eye—
how he felt their probing fingers—then he’ll cry
but what was I supposed to do— paralyzed upon their table?
Right then I’ll lean against the wall, right under the sign,
“Employees Must Punch In and Out,”
I’ll sip my coffee, think of the Euros in my top dresser drawer.
I’ll start to hum La Marseillaise—kind of deep and low—
then I’ll remember and then I’ll forget
the palm reader who said I should beware
of thunder rattling the bullet train windows,
and lightning striking the leaves of howling trees;
rain water pouring from the mouths of gargoyles,
down through stone gutters, over the banks of a river
of the city whose heart is shaped like an exploding star—
Lois Roma-Deeley is the author of three collections of poetry: Rules of Hunger (2004), northSight (2006) and High Notes (2010)—a Paterson Poetry Prize Finalist. Her poems have been featured in numerous literary journals and anthologies such as Villanelles (Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets), Spillway, Bellingham Review, Artful Dodge and many more. She is a recipient of an Arizona Commission on the Arts 2016 Artist Research & Development Grant. http://www.loisroma-deeley.com/