The Coworker A “need-to-know” it’s called in Personnel and I’m just high enough to need to know she’s going through that quiet hell of watching someone’s life she loves recede. A bit more hollowed every day, a bit more bleakly by his suffering obsessed, she does her work, she types, she talks, she sits through meetings. People think she’s simply stressed. Though what I think I really need to know is how we humans do this thing at all: this love, this pain, this patience in the throes of fate and faith, our back against the wall. How she can cherish this life or the next while waiting for the phone call or the text. The Day Will Come The day will come when Beauty is restored to us, so quietly yet utterly beside itself our famished eyes will toward its giddy silence barely turn to see. But of a sudden purple tulips on a May-lit morn a deeper bloom will don; a cricket chirping neath the hush of rain will take on tones of heavenly refrain. When Beauty’s finally had enough and casts away its shackles forged of intellect and will, we’ll feel again the human body thrill and know the greyness in our soul has passed. And on that day when Beauty sings its song I’ll whisper how I’ve loved you all along. Jeffrey Essmann’s prose work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and numerous magazines and literary journals, his poetry in America Magazine and Dappled Things. He lives in New York City.