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Commensurate with Experience

by Rebecca Hansen about a year ago in performance poetry
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to a hiring manager

Commensurate with Experience
Photo by freddie marriage on Unsplash

You look at me and think

I have no experience;

and it’s true that I have never done this one precise thing you need me to do

but I’ve never met

(not once, in six half-dozen years)

a thing I couldn’t do,

and that is my experience.

Tell me, which experience shall I share?

I can tell you about the experience

of leaving a cult I hadn’t joined,

or the experience of my spouse coming out as trans

in Amish country,

or the experience of cooking my four younger siblings breakfast

at the age of seven.

I can tell you about the terrifying day

my mother got so angry she smashed her favorite mug against the wall

or stomped on her glasses

or threw the baby’s walker across the house

or stormed out the front door and drove away

spewing threats

and how I smiled at her and soothed her and apologized

and became her confidant

and still failed to protect my brothers and sisters from the abuse.

I can tell you about losing my entire worldview

and rebuilding it breath to breath,

and how I would never wish that terror on my worst enemies -

the black nothingness of having no moorings -

but I pray it for my dearest friends.

I can tell you why the answers don’t matter;

the answers aren’t important, it’s the questions you need to pay attention to,

and when you say experience you mean, what answers can you give me?

But I don’t bring answers, only better questions

and if you took a chance on me you would never regret it, not for any good reason,

(that is also my experience),

but there it is: you are asking bad questions

and I cannot give the answers you seek.

performance poetry

About the author

Rebecca Hansen

Putting words down in writing makes me feel alive. What do I write about? Yes. Also that. I like to think that my randomness is charming.

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