Apply two coats of waterproof mascara.
Floss until it steadies your hands. Sit down
while you sheath your winter legs
in ultra-sheer pantyhose, Nude #2. Remember
the time before your ninth deposition,
teetering in your hallway in a twisted
tree pose, you wrenched your back,
flailing like a netted trout.
Do not bat your eyelashes at your lover,
I mean, lawyer, until you two are alone
in a taxi fleeing the scene.
Don’t shriek when plaintiff’s counsel
accuses you of sleeping with
the defendant. Try to forget
that co-counsel’s son carpools
with your daughter. Count the lines
in the wood grain of the
conference room table. Hum
in your head to the rat-a-tat
of the stenographer’s flying fingers.
Breathe. Wait for your lawyer’s objection.
Later, when he asks: Was it true?
don’t slap him. Don’t place a straight razor
near your bubble bath. Leave
your pearl-handled revolver at home,
tucked under your monogrammed hankies.
Remember you don’t have a revolver…
or hankies. Remember all the dimes
you earned ironing your father’s hankies.
Try to forget his shadow in your doorway.
Try to forget his hand over your mouth.
Try to forget the sticky touch of your brother’s
beanbag chair on your bare thighs,
your brother’s threat: I’ll tell everyone what you did.
Try to forget his needling question:
Does it feel good when I touch you here?
Elya Braden, a former corporate lawyer and entrepreneur, is now a writer and collage artist living in Los Angeles where she leads workshops for writers. Her work has appeared in Causeway Lit, Forge, Linden Avenue, poemmemoirstory, Serving House Journal, Willow Review and elsewhere. You can find her online at www.elyabraden.com.