On Showing Up To Work Eight Hours Early

The first reaction is of panic and frustration,
followed by a slow meltdown of initiative
that leaves me rooted to the tile floor of the store
trying to figure out how to get my misspent
transit token back.
                                   I could have
slept until noon, done my laundry,
paid some bills, or at the very least
finished watching the cheesy sci-fi movie
I turned off after eighteen minutes.

I am pressed with the knowledge that
I have chosen the wrong reality,
that in some parallel universe
another me knows precisely
where she should be while I stand here
adding up presence and absence,
subtracting $4.50, dividing by
who cares.

In these lost moments,
I come as close to inventing
time travel
as it is possible
for one so insignificant.

(May 13, 2003)

© Katherine Maheux, 2003.