by Mary Paulson

Hold on!
I’m on my way! I’m steps away,
minutes— so close— 
In fact, I’d be there already if it hadn’t been for the toaster fire
the burst pipe
the hovering ghost of my dead grandmother
kept me up all night.
The alarm didn’t ring. 
Of course I set it, it has to be 
the cat— he acts like he owns the place— 
Just this morning I found my keys in his litter box.
You see what I’m up against?
I totally agree
this is unacceptable
(although time is a human construct 
and therefore relative)
I should have been here.
The train came late, it didn’t stop
at my stop. When it finally did come
we were held indefinitely in total darkness—
What a nightmare!
I should be in the hospital being treated for PTSD
but my work ethic is such that 
I came straight here.
Of course the rules apply to me
but I don’t think you understand how far I have to travel—
I’m coming from Andromeda, 
navigating millions of light years—
If it wasn’t for this morning’s eccentric orbit 
Coupled with a sudden projection of rogue stars, 
I wouldn’t have had to go all the way to the Arctic pole first 
before hitting the downtown 1 line.
It’s not really my fault.
I’m untethered, floating forever outside myself 
I can hear you talking but I’m so far away—
Wait, I’m losing you, the signal’s garbled
Hello? Hello? 
I’m coming! I’m on my way!


Mary Paulson’s writing has been featured in multiple publications, most recently in Arkana, Tipton Poetry Journal, The Metaworker, Months to Years and Chronogram. Her chapbook, Paint the Window Open was recently published by Kelsay Books. She can be found on Facebook: mary.paulson.35/ and Instagram: my_tigerlily.