There is a Small TV Mounted in the Cobwebbed Corner of the Breakroom 

by Courtney Tala

that is permanently set to the news & today the news is talking about an active shooter incident from
this morning & the breakroom is intrigued, because it happened at the Navy base right down the
street & now, after the shooter is confirmed dead & the victim is in the hospital, the news is calling
it an isolated domestic dispute & in this case, victim is just another word for girlfriend of a man with a hot
temper & a coworker peels his eyes from the screen & says to the room guess she should’ve watched
who she pissed off, huh? & I fail to find the humor in the situation so I look for it in the bottom of my
sad Tupperware while around me, the table erupts in a fit of corporate laughter & I would like to tell my
coworker where he can stick his humor, but by now I have learned that never is the right time to
open my mouth when I am the only woman in the room & it’s been months, but I still remember
my downstairs neighbor’s voice as she screamed over her angry boyfriend & the sound of shattering
glass that came next, then the silence, pierced by the front door slam & when I stepped outside later,
all I could see was blood, quietly dripping down the vinyl siding to pool on the landing outside their
door & I thought it’s none of my business as I called maintenance & asked them to clean the stairs & my
coworkers are still chuckling when the TV shows a clip of a reporter standing outside Oceana, who
says the victim is lucky & in stable condition, which really means her ex-boyfriend emptied five bullets
into her and just had bad aim & the news plays on a continuous loop, so it tells us again that an
incident happened just under six miles from here, which is to say danger is lurking just around the
corner, or maybe just downstairs & my coworkers have finished their lunches now & someone clicks
off the TV. 

back to University & College Poetry Prizes