Over the loudspeaker, “Christmas party radiology conference room at noon.”
We chipped in for cold cuts, brought goodies-- cheese and crackers, jello salad,
Mexican wedding cookies. Mary Dullea brought posole to eat in paper cups.
Spiked punch lasts fifteen minutes. Mrs. Petty whispers,
“We shoulda made chicken soup for Dr. Kopperman.”
Sandra brought bunuelos, made them in her Mexican cooking class.
Consuela spits hers into the wastebasket, hisses to Teresa,
“I’ve never tasted anything like that.”
Sandra gets huffy, “They’re Mexico City style. Not New Mexico.”
Kyle, the security guard, plays Santa.
Evie gives me three pair of bikini panties,
each with a drink recipe. Mary Dullea whispers
she’s selling hot Navajo jewelry for her brother-in-law in Window Rock.
The custodians have their party upstairs.
Lucille comes down to ours and complains,
“They’re playing Spanish music. I can’t understand a word of it.”
She writes her recipe for sweet potato pie on a “While You Were Out” pad.
It’s her new husband’s favorite. He’s from the Bahamas, hates Albuquerque.
Mrs. Petty passes around a Christmas card to slip into Poopsie’s in-box.
Poopsie is secretary to Dr. B, the chief of radiology.
The card is a photo of a penis with glasses and a little Santa hat.
Underneath it says, “Season's Greetings. Guess Who?’
Poopsie won’t come to our party. The way she refers to herself
as “eg-ZEC-ative secretary,” I know she won’t show.
Evie thinks Poopsie is having a mad affair with Dr. B.
That may be true, but I think Poopsie hates all of us,
especially this time of year.
Evie is thrilled to be pregnant. We laugh
when she pops a button because her boobs are getting big.
The conference room is near the nursery and the maternity ward.
When someone opens the door, you hear an infant cry.
Mrs. Petty whispers, “Baby Hay-Soos,” every time.
Nancy Harris McLelland taught creative writing, composition, and literature for over twenty years and Conducted writing workshops for the Western Folklife Center, Great Basin College , and the Great Basin Writing Project . An Elko County native with a background in ranching. McLelland has presented her "Poems from Tuscarora" Both at daytime and evening events at the Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko. Her essay, "Border Lands: Cowboy Poetry and the Literary Canon" is in the anthology Cowboy Poetry Matters .