The secretary stood at my office door,
a ghost, her hair held back from her pale face
by twin barrettes.

Reflex panic: I gasped, jumped.

"I didn't hear you come in." I hadn't caught
the click-click-click-snap of the cipher lock
on the heavy vault door. Hadn't heard any sounds at all,
except vague whisperings, voices I knew to ignore.

"I didn't mean to startle you." She turned to leave.
"I just thought you might want some coffee while it was fresh."
Fresh from the party-size West Bend coffeepot.
She must've known I'd been down there all night
because I'd never signed out.

No point in leaving at 7am.
Fresh morning light always stung my eyes
after a night underground.


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