? First Job - Julia Rampen - Imponderabilia

First Job

In the dark, cobbled square, they're girls
scuffing their shoes, smoking
or peering up at watery clouds;
heaving suitcases packed with giggles
into the back of the truck. Names
once rhymed in class
or called from opened windows
are whispered like a goodbye.
Prayers are said. In the truck
they try out new titles,
foreign words that judder on their lips
like the bags on the floor,
One is a 'waitress' an apron, dress,
a kaleidoscope of wine and tables,
the trickle of tips. 'Secretary':
sleek hair, a computer spreadsheet,
hands playing out an alphabetic beat;
'Carer,' 'nurse.' Someone snores
and dipping in and out
of the ladders of dreams, they do not see
the signs, will not know
of the checkpoint: that final pause
that moment when they
will all become whores.

Julia Rampen is in her first year studying History at Cambridge, but she finds creative writing far more interesting than essays. In her spare time she likes to play her cello and think up excuses to go abroad.