by Shoshauna Shy
So that coworkers would not joke
that Val was a total loser,
she took vacation every year
the way they were supposed to
even though she preferred to stay
for the exclusive historic lodge
Sangre de Cristo mountains
with its children riding horseback,
waitstaff performing cabaret,
plates boasting crepe suzettes.
The pine-shrouded stone chateau
was a primo destination
for the international jet set
who lavished appreciation
when she saved them a favorite suite
a season in advance.
Since Valerie lived two towns away
in a studio apartment
disowned by her parents
soon as she turned 18,
holiday dinners were at the lodge
amongst the owners’ children –
Christmas, New Years, Easter Day
each savored by her Nikon.
When she did manage to vamoose
one week every August,
she checked email and Facebook posts
in every internet café.
she found out Sacramento
her boss dumped his latest mistress;
the bellhop New Orleans
got fired for cocaine.
A maid’s diamond find in the whirlpool
was the highlight of
, Ann Arbor
and the gardener’s proposal to the chef
her memory of
The cab ride home from the airport
was the best part of the journey,
and by dawn Val was in the dining hall
with Cook Cody’s basted eggs.
If it weren’t for the blackened postmarks
on the cards sent to the office,
nobody would believe that “Velcro”
~ first published in MO: Writings from the River (
Montana State University
in ) Great Falls