Return to work
The person returning is not
who she was before, even if she is wearing the right clothes
(larger than she’d like) over damp breast pads,
even if she’s forced her feet
into shoes that hurt, even if she’s brushed her hair.
So she’s not prepared when she steps
warily into a place that was familiar once,
but is now an off-kilter dream, desks misaligned,
books moved, someone else at her computer,
blinking, bemused. Oh, are you back today?
Worse are the waxwork people, oblivious
of the shift in reality: unpicked, resewn.
All she can do is reclaim her desk and play her part,
clicking and writing and saying the right sorts of things,
holding on until half past five when she can return.