Emilie Lindemann / Dear Minimum Wage Employee, You Are Priceless
Emilie Lindemann grew up in Manitowoc, WI where she teaches at Silver Lake College. She is a graduate of UW-Milwaukee's Creative Writing program and has served as poetry editor for Cream City Review. Emilie's poems have been published in journals such as Columbia Poetry Review, PANK, Verse Wisconsin, Arsenic Lobster Poetry Journal, and Prime Number. These poems are for all the brave and gutsy cashiers, baristas, and department store associates she has ever worked with.
Corporate Macaroni Code
What is acceptable: black slacks,
especially when paired with a fuck-me voice
and a meek smile.
Avoid thrusting your elbows outward,
talking with your hands.
(This is only
for your own good. We wouldn’t want you
to look anything but professional.
We wouldn’t want you
to be mistaken for a woman shopping freely,
schlucking her boots against the linoleum,
sniffing blouse pits or rubbing discount dresses
between stubby fingers.)
On days when the weather
is especially conducive to Capri pants,
we want you to give us your shiniest apples,
your macaroni necklaces, the last rasp of your voice,
even if it’s higher or purpler than you feel.
Even if you go home to peanut butter.