poem about my anxiety about quitting my job in the service industry & imagining that timothée chalamet would want me to

but who will not move & just watch me get on my hands & knees

to retrieve their napkin? where are the people who will sit & stare

at me struggle with four of their friends & their cuff links

at me in a dress on a cement floor? who will think they can

rightfully lose patience with me when i forget something

inconsequential? who will sigh at me with closed eyes & say

just bring me a fucking martini & then i have to—

who will i limp away from now?

when my nicest table in weeks says to me, oh, you write poetry?

like i always say, go out to eat, & you’re supporting the arts,

can i rewind & not believe them? can i say, i’d rather buy a record

instead, i’d rather tell my friend they’re talented, or read a poem

on the internet, or watch a movie, or donate to a theater

the truth is i was terrified, my whole life seemed propped up

by waiting tables, three jobs with barely cohabitating schedules

& me sucking in whole lungfuls of air whenever i could remember to

& taking power naps at three in the afternoon after teaching

to make sure i’d make it through my closing shift at the restaurant,

i had to plan the night i could see your new movie three weeks in advance

& maybe it’s weird, but i know

you don’t want that for me

i just know it

Aly Pierce sits facing away from her desk in a wooden chair. She is wearing a blue and white tie-dye hoodie and her chin is in her hand. Her book shelf, several plants, and a tea-dyed string of phases of the moon can be seen in the background.

Aly Pierce is originally from Doylestown, PA and currently lives in Beverly, MA. Her debut collection of poems The Visible Planets (Game Over Books) and split chapbook with Cassandra de Alba, Cryptids (Ginger Bug Press), both came out in 2020. Most recently, she has been published in the Red Ogre Review and Peach Mag. You can find her online as @instantweekend.