Drew Pisarra

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My Boss Had This to Say

It’s dangerous to speak ill of your boss,
to share true feelings about
the one who holds the purse strings,
the person who okays or naysays
your vacation request,
the jerk who screams at you
once HR has goes home.
But let me tell you a secret.
My boss sticks his hand down his pants during meetings.
Not in the front. No. Not that.
What he does is slide his flat dry palm
in the back between his underwear and his butt
like an infant seeking comfort.
I’ve seen him do it multiple times.
I tried it on myself. It kind of works.

He also speaks ill of higher-ups,
belittles the folks in Legal,
makes fun of the gay guy in Marketing,
and does a mean imitation of the girl in the mailroom,
the one with a nervous tic.
I always laugh. It’s part of my job.
My boss has another strange habit.
He rubs his thumb and forefinger together
as if he were testing invisible money
or rolling a tiny piece of mucus around and around
thereby turning it into gold.
He wears jeans to work every day.
And old T-shirts.
And a bike helmet.
He doesn’t eat meat.
I wish he’d eat shit and die.

He likes to play the devil’s advocate.
I think he’s the devil.

MEMO from the Secretary Pool

To: The Executive in Office 25-Z
From: The Front Desk

Priority: High
Date: No as in Never

No one is belittling your search for love. No one is saying it’s easy. But over the past few months it has become clear that we cannot help you. Our skillset does not extend this far. We are here to answer phones, type up correspondence, take dictation, to file papers you’ll never look at again, to lick stamps. We’ll even fax should the need arise.

Additionally, we are willing to bring you your coffee (black, one sugar), to laugh at your jokes (briefly), to nod sympathetically (again briefly), and to act as a block for unwanted visitors/callers. We will go and have gone beyond our official job description. We think. That said…

We are NOT open to your casual touch, to your face getting so close we can smell a weird combination of baby aspirin and energy drink on your breath, to your gaze when it strays down for more than one indiscreet second, or to your second inquiry following our first emphatic no.

There are many fish in the sea but this fish will not be hooked no matter how many times you cast your line. Please fish at another pool. Please leer in another building. Please lean over another shoulder at another desk. In brief: Please stop.

Respectfully yours,



Drew Pisarra is one half of Saint Flashlight, a poetry activation duo with Molly Gross that finds inventive ways to get verse into unexpected public spaces. His debut book of poetry, Infinity Standing Up, was released by Capturing Fire Press in early 2019.