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A Short Film About Fatigue

Fred Schmalz

It starts as lack of appetite.
You will stand in the kitchen,
your desire reduced to “sour.”
Your friend will write to tell you
she knows you are alone. “Try the grocery

with the narrow aisles. That way, you’re closer
to the food.” The food in jars with bonnets.
She will promise to write more later
but right now she is in a hurry.
She will promise maybe a phone call.

You will tire of all this, go
get a haircut, a real shag rocker,
and send her a picture of yourself
looking like a bubble about to break.
The fatigue that ended, briefly, will return

after you are forced to shake hands with many
strangers in the marble lobby of a building.
People whispering behind their teeth.
People nodding while you try to back away.
They will cover the exits.

Your friend will not be there and you will
have no way of reaching her.
You will be suffering through
an uncomfortable dinner out with the boss,
his wife. She will be out to lunch.

Fred Schmalz

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