Bronchitis on the Set of New Girl

Nearly midnight and I down Dayquil,
my orange savior. True: I shouldn’t be

here. I’m sorry, Zooey, for coughing
in your proximity between takes.

I cannot afford to not work. I was
stuck in I-405 rush hour of people

at the Medicaid office only to turn in
papers, proof of existence. This

paycheck is a pothole in a rich man’s
wallet. I hack a lung of concrete, self-

isolated from other extras in this closed-
off park in Culver City. I know most

are poor as me, our seventy dollar
paydays arriving in the mail one or two

weeks after. Each day, I drive to the post
office before it closes, turn the rusty key

into my mailbox. Sometimes I get an
envelope in my hands, meaning today

I eat. Other times, nothing but the scent
of gasoline I paid for to get here.


(originally published in Chronogram, Fall 2018)

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