Life of a working girl (Maggie Rainey-Smith)

wearing a blue smock
that zips and fits snug
above my knees
I car pool with my
bachelor neighbour
who smells of
chewing on his pipe
at intersections and
leaning forward on
corners to coax his car
eight miles passed
lambs in spring and
faster than the bus
into the city where
under cover sits
my typewriter with
its qwerty keyboard
its smooth dark platen
I replace the ribbon
release the margins
and reset them for
the memos the
many many memos
and my rubbish bin
carbon covers my face
and smudges my copy
I find distraction at smoko
sitting next to the Italian
girl with the wide clear
forehead who each day
balancing her tea cup
on dark hose-covered
knees she’s saving
up for her wedding
we listen to the talk
of frocks and flowers
she licks her fingers
clean shaking icing
from her smock and
we imagine our own
eye the blokes from
engineering whose
their hands for gold
bands rotate taking
shorthand notes from
clerks with big desks
and sharp pencils to
dial their rotary phones
the switchboard which
we operate on shifts
searching for free lines
‘hold on caller’ I’ll try
the supervisor one more
time on this extension
the clatter of the keys
the scherzo of carriages
forever returning
retypes, rewrites, head-
phones flashing lights
the cadence and clatter
one line to another
the shuffle and tangle
of sheaf and stack
folder and file amid
the intimate interlinear
                                                           Working Girl

One thought on “Life of a working girl (Maggie Rainey-Smith)

  1. Pingback: Working in the Sixties | a curious half hour

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