Asking For It

By Elya Braden

She is shuffling down her office hallway, head bent, scanning pages,
bundled in blue jeans and a gray crew-neck sweater.

Summoned back after midnight on December 30th to document
a year-end acquisition. Sleep crusts her unmade eyes.

The discrete carpet expunges his footsteps. She thinks she’s alone
until his urgent lips pressed to her exposed neck jolt her awake.

She recoils as he breathes into her ear: You are the sexiest woman
in this firm. She thought he was a friend,

but this is no tender offer, no special motion, no appeal.
She hears no compliment in his words, only the echo

of her mother’s blame: Well, it wasn’t really your brother’s fault;
I remember you coming downstairs in a bikini when you were eight,
posing and saying: “Look at me, aren’t I sexy?”


A writer, actress, and singer since her youth, Elya Braden took a long detour from her creative endeavors to pursue an eighteen-year career as a corporate lawyer and entrepreneur, eventually launching a networking group for experienced female lawyers. After fifteen years in Seattle, she now enjoys pursuing her creativity in the southern California sunshine. When she’s not writing, Elya enjoys creating collage art and leading workshops for other writers.  Elya’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Amarillo Bay, Cultural Weekly, Dogwood, Echoes Poetry Journal, Euphony, Jewish Women’s Literary Annual, Willow Review, and Scratch Anthology (Volume 3).

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