May 19, 2024

Post-grad Unemployment by Libby Gerdes

should feel like freedom, at least briefly.
My professor told me he’s never written more
than the summer after senior year.
I could, too: so much time to read, write,
apply. But mostly I’ve been doing nothing

except gazing out the window, watching
the occasional come and go of my neighbors and
gust of wind ruffling tree branches—evidence of life
outside continuing, softly, without me.

I look up from the window to see the time,
8:00 pm exactly, an hour before the gym closes.
I am filled with an explicable need to go.
So I head to the lamppost securing my bike
because although it’s slower than car,
the two-wheel commute gives me more time
to stare at the setting sun. And right now,
I need air, earth.

There I bike more. The window by the stationary
offers a perfect view of the sky’s streaks
so I watch until they hide behind the trees. And though
it’s only been ten minutes, I already want to leave
because the point was merely getting out at all.
Now I want get out again, on my real bike,
and chase the colors until the horizon ends,
until there is nothing left but darkness.
I want to chase it—
the beauty, the impossible,
but I won’t. I will stay here until the building closes
and the sky is black, bruising my butt bones and
writing this poem in too-bright fluorescent lighting
on an unmoving machine. This, at least, is within reach.
And maybe
it can, or it must,
be enough for me.

Gerdes, Libby

Libby Gerdes is a reporter in Southern Illinois. They graduated Murray State University witg a BFA in Creative Writing and a BS in Professional Writing in 2023. They have previous publications in The Quarter(ly) Review and Assignment Literary Magazine and work forthcoming in Runestone and Military Experiences and the Arts.

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