Credit Control

Walking to the bathroom –
icy stainless sun filtering breathing
seat sharp frosted                          diffused water
hands hair bobby pins steel
standing up from my stupor, swaying in a swamp of
a hundred invoices –

The muscles of my arse are atrophying as I blink. I can feel them becoming amorphous and jelly. One day they will spill over the chair and flow all over the floor and I’ll become a waste product of functionalist administration, an illegitimate proliferation.

Hello,
Please find attached invoice #33532 for Waitemata District Health Board.
Best regards,

You’re really good at this, a colleague tells me. You could become manager of Accounts Receivable one day.

There are hundreds of messages on my phone. I dare not check them lest I have to make any payment plans.

Dear Randeep Kaur,
NOTICE avoid valid                        2013
OVERDUE health quantity                      hospital
ACTION comply IMPORTANT immediately
owe disregard July cost SERVICES
13     Takapuna ACCOUNT health regards RECEIVABLE 93503
Bag number                 ITEM subtotal #45535 payment             collection ACTIVITY
Request     BALANCE detail         total
Date LEGAL overdue amount      avoid                   7 DAYS     discuss      recover
visit treatment District HEALTH calculated               immediately        rectified                ADMINISTERED                   MEDICAL board
unit cost PAYMENT office receivable
7 DAYS possible receipt acknowledge 0740 Waitemata
Sincerely,

Lining the corridor: fake leather, fake wood.

At lunchtime I walk up and down the six storey stairwell of the former National Women’s Hospital. My beloved is writing a thesis on the mythology of Siva and talking about a course on Sanskrit literature at Oxford.

Brown
riverstone
tiles walking in step;
the walls,
the ceilings,
the floors,
60s babies born in sepia tone.

My bathroom breaks are becoming increasingly longer.

Dear Randeep Kaur,
I am sorry that you only just arrived here nine months ago to meet your new husband and that you are going to be raising a baby in a foreign country I feel uncomfortable about the fact that your husband works for Yogiberry because I wasn’t aware that the frozen yoghurt industry would pay enough to cover living costs in Auckland let alone a $20k debt I am also sorry for you that there were complications in your pregnancy as that would have doubled the price normal deliveries only cost $10k but most of all I am sorry that our pricings are never advertised because we are not a private hospital so this bill must have come as a dreadful surprise if you and your new husband and baby will be spending the next seven nights awake, crying, I can only send my deepest regrets–

The land
of the long white
cloud of
milk and
honey has dampened into
mouldy ceilings and
asthma lungs
and making ends meet is all we wish for our children.

All the best for your struggles and I hope you make it to Australia eventually

For the Auckland District Health Board,

 

Published in Atlanta Review