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"Work Ethic" & "Hell is for Girls" by Angel Rosen

Work Ethic is about capitalism and suicide. My pieces often focus on mental illness. Read with care.



My mother will tell me again that Aldi is hiring when I say my friends don’t have enough money to survive. I say creative people will kill themselves if they have to work at a grocery store, and you’ve told me this story already. They aren’t understaffed because no one wants to work, no one is working because we are all going to kill ourselves. She says the manager of Aldi was at her wedding, the woman’s husband died but it wasn’t you know and now she works six days a week, real hard worker, my mother says. I say I’m going to kill myself and none of my friends have any money or any will to live, she says Aldiis hiring, they’re understaffed,

I went to the husband’s funeral, real hard worker, she says. I ask my mother to take me to the store I’m out of Diet Coke and I want to tell any widowed cashiers that I’m going to kill myself and maybe they will listen to me and maybe Aldi sells guns. My mother says you should get

a job application for your friend while you’re there because Aldiis hiring, and it pays better than Walmart.


I say okay, I will let them know right before we all jump off the bridge.



my thoughts become pedestrian and

meet at a crosswalk while i

play the near-dead thing on the shoulder of

the freeway, the trucks zipping past

sounding no bigger than a fly. i am sorry

i lead you down this avenue that has so many 

signs you can’t read in your condition

and my translations are as useless as my hands


my eyes stay green during delirium, turn blue

during worship, and then are suddenly amber

when it’s time to give into the light

they shine on me, looking for vitals.

all of this talk about going places but 



hell is for girls

who have never knelt 

without consequence 

who have only ever lingered

long enough to be accused


hell is for angels

ready to rest their heads

on stony pillows, dreams plaited 

serenity liquored, kept wet


hell is for demands

of love unruly,

how it rises, all doughy,

how it leaks, how i’ve gotten

so much of it.

Angel Rosen, the author of Aurelia and Blake, is a neurodivergent, lesbian poet living near Pittsburgh. Her work has been featured in Olney Magazine, Anthropocene, HAD, and others. More at and @Axiopoeticus. She is passionate about mental health, friendship, and sharing anecdotes.


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