/c ginsberg

The Face You Make if You Want Them to Think You’re Paying Attention


If your face were a book it would be long
and hard to read. All eighteen chapters of Ulysses
ruining the lives of a tenth grade honors English class.
The others in the room will have only skimmed CliffsNotes
of You prior to this department meeting. They won’t know 
your abridged version leaves out important plot turns, like how
you don’t even care at all about any of it. How there is no plot
and talking about it more won’t create one. That’s why you have to 
look a certain way in order to not look another certain way. Appear
scared but not terrified, wide-eyed hunter targeting the meatiest
prey that cowers in the brush of small talk. Hear some words
two nouns and at least one verbthen nod. Cock your chin
and lean into the group as if the other ear’s overflowing 
with their wisdom, but think about the condiments you’ll select 
for your lunch burrito bowl. If anyone seems to question how dedicated
you are to this required weekly meeting, Amish them directly in the eye
but mentally Rumspringa. They aren’t invited to your mental kegger,
your delicious, inner Crazytown, your circle of drunken clowns
who manage to all fit inside this one tiny VW parked behind your bangs.


Corey Ginsberg’s work has most recently appeared in such publications as Gettysburg Review, Minnesota Review, Third Coast, and Los Angeles Review, among others.