This week’s poem gives us one person’s very specific version of the underworld, and it’s simultaneously hilarious and terrifying.

Gretchen Berg is a teaching artist with more than 30 years of experience of integrating theater, dance, visual arts and classroom curriculum in New England schools, community centers and museums. She received the Maine Alliance for Art Education’s 2007 Bill Bonyun Award for her contribution to the arts in Maine schools.

When I Go to Hell

By Gretchen Berg

I’ll be an event planner

or open a bed & breakfast.


I’ll wait for people to return my calls

and I’ll be cc’d on everything.

On the other side of each wall

a TV blares.

Every night is open mic night,

the only empty seats are in the front row.


Never alone

I’m always within earshot

of parents telling toddlers good job

when they eat some crackers

or looking disappointed and speaking sarcastically

to their teenagers.


On the porch loud men regale one another with stories

about humiliating their subordinates.

There are no seasons and plenty of parking.

No meals, just snacks.

Between shopping for Christmas presents

and judging poster contests


we gather for Satan’s PowerPoint,

then break into sweaty groups

to list goals and objectives

on big pieces of white paper.

Gibson Fay-LeBlanc is Portland’s poet laureate. Deep Water: Maine Poems is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2017 Gretchen Berg. It appears here by permission of the author. For an archive of all the poems that have appeared in this column, go to

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