Telling

You never give the same version twice. The customer had a knife.
A snub bulge in his pocket. A bad-news tattoo. I try to stitch your
stories together. He called you a wetback. Said “Learn English!” He
yanked the tablecloth where the water glasses of your pride stood.
The boss saw it all, said nothing. The boss said, “José speaks better
English than you do.” You wanted to punch him. You wanted to
punch the boss. You quit. You wanted to quit. You were fired.

 

 

 

Tracy Mishkin is a call center veteran with a PhD and a graduate of the MFA program in Creative Writing at Butler University. She is the author of two chapbooks, I Almost Didn’t Make It to McDonald’s (Finishing Line Press, 2014) and The Night I Quit Flossing (Five Oaks Press, 2016). Her third, This is Still Life, is forthcoming from Brain Mill Press in fall 2018.