“Beauty and Fire” by Richard Holleman

Her guy friend at the office took the time
to tell her she was ugly as old leather shoes.
She did not want to talk to him and
shut the stenciled glass door, leaving him
to the commencing meeting.


And he called her unprofessional, she thought.
How… why did he call her ugly? The tears brimmed.
The innate need to be beautiful, her tower,
had fallen to disrepair in seconds.


She took long strides for the safety of her cubicle.
The chat room slid open on her monitor.
“What kind of response do you expect to that question?”
waited behind the blinking icon of another co-worker,
one she had benignly asked about unit tests.


Pinned to her cubicle wall a cartoon dinosaur
ravaged the streets and torched cars.
Crayon words scrawled across the bottom:
“I was born to be awesome, not perfect.”
She saw in the dinosaur the pleasure of fire.







Richard Holleman currently works as a computer programmer, spending evenings and weekends reading and writing poetry.