my voice catches in my throat, and she
takes it, stomps it into the dust,
hands me the cheque, and says,
“so I’m firing you today.”

I’m walking down the path,
arms crossed over my chest,
bare legs chilly, wind screwing
with my hair. my shaking hand

tries to text my best friend,
but I’m crying so hard
I can’t see the screen. the next day
in the raspberry rows, I’m looping

Hail Marys in my head,
rolling berries like beads between
my still shaking fingers.
my mother’s voice catches

in the wind, and I take it,
lie to her face, and say “I’m fine,”
ignoring the lurch in my
stomach that returns faithfully,

self-hatred like a bullet wound.
on the third day, the weather
is miserable, cold and closed off,
blanketed and vulnerable.