Life Coach

The life coach wants twenty-two hundred dollars
to talk to me on Voxer, meet with me on Zoom, 
to share the keys to the internet kingdom with me,

she will unlock the secrets to a life less disaffected, 
but I will have to do the work, she says, as if it were
a choice, as if doing the work was not what I’ve done 

since putting on a uniform at sixteen years to dump
French fries into paper sleeves, disposable then as 
now, I was fired for telling what I knew was the truth

to a harried woman at the counter rooting for change 
in her coin purse, that what filled her cup was not a 
milkshake, that it contained no milk, just an oily ersatz 

that didn’t quite cross the threshold of authenticity, 
and what did you learn at work today, dear girl? 
I learned that getting fired is not the worst thing,  

that selling yourself for pence and pounds can be
a greater magnitude of worse, you called me a child 
then for learning the wrong lesson, call me failed 

and naïve even now and I agree: all I ever wanted was 
to write my stories and ride a horse through the hills 
above Attica where I could see the concrete wall 

of the prison on a clear day, we rode together, once 
upon a time when we were young and I knew the secrets 
of your heart, bound up then as now in knots, for we

told each other everything, even when we were afraid, 
I know you wanted to ride your own horses and tell your 
own stories, before they taught you otherwise, before they 

handed you a piece of paper and led you to a cubicle with 
a motivational poster in place of a window, no view of 
your own horizon, I know you wanted those things, too.

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