Deja Earley, 5/8/2011

Current Occupation: Literature Textbook Editor
Former Occupation: Fabric Salesgirl, Donuts Salesgirl, Taco Assembler
Contact Information: Deja’s poems and essays have previously appeared or are forthcoming in journals like Arts and Letters, Borderlands, and Lilliput Review. She has received honors in several writing contests, including the 2008 Joan Johnson Award in poetry, the 2004-2005 Parley A. and Ruth J. Christensen Award, and an Honorable Mention from the Academy of American Poets in both 2003 and 2004. She completed a PhD in English and Creative Writing at the University of Southern Mississippi and moved to the Boston area, where she works as a development editor.

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SLEEPING AFTER TEN HOURS AT THE FABRIC STORE

I dream the screaming ladies follow me home,
pushing their carts still packed with Christmas-in-July bargains.
They line up at the foot of my bed,
Demanding: 2 yards, 63 yards, 42 centimeters,
an acre of slipping satin, and 16 inches of leopard print fleece.

I plead my shift is over.
I can’t cut fabric in my sleep.
But grandmas keep shoving 40% off coupons under my pillow,
furious I am already out of Santa-suit velvet.

Shift to the kitchen table,
and they are all my grandmother,
crunching saltines and drinking milk to unwind.
We snap jokes and giggle over zipper lengths
before I tuck them into their carts,
curled under scratchy batting,
bolts of flannel for pillows.

I tell them I finally forgive them
for being too sick to see my debut
in Hansel and Gretal when I was 10.
I tell them we’re moving the patterns
to be close to the notions.
I tell them I will cut again tomorrow.

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