through the raised eyebrows
pinched lips
stoic demeanors
of the panel she stood before
she rallied on about adjectives
bringing out exercises and pages from
coffee table books
dazzling them with her wit
ability to stay in control
and sense of professionalism
she came prepared, she’d have her say

she passed with flying colors
why shouldn’t she?
ego in place
she knew her competence
and lived by Etienne Gilson’s words
reciting them like a mantra
among many mantras that kept her sane and spirited
jaded she wasn’t nor naïve
yet she remained hopeful
amidst the rumors of ineptitude
glass integrity
veiled honesty
unmatched duplicity
form over substance
profit margin over everything

then the universe makes visible the invisible
and rumors take on more than a grain of truth
familiarity wasn’t she asked for
only the basic tenets of professionals: command responsibility, quick thinking, sound decisions
and professional courtesy
e-mails left answered for days eclipsing the 48-hour time frame for silence
problems left suspended in mid-air
decisions done always at the 11th hour
not a word of comfort but disgust and reluctance even over the phone
face-to-face with an underling of the Gods
she’s hushed and they talk in whispers:
“You’re not supposed to be here but everything is all set. They don’t know anything.”

despite burned weekends, long hours and migraines
of having cleansed their name of slime and mud
of raising it from oblivion and ignominy
she discovered she’s invisible
“You’re invisible,” she was told before she left
it rankled deep within
women before her have fought against the invisible ceiling
lifting it aloft for future sisters
and she’s bumping into one again
but this time she’s not the only one bruised
she wonders: where does that leave the future generation?
             invisible or visible?

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