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The Dishman


A wide, white sunray brightens my orange juice and
speckles orange-white on my
brown, plastic tray.
Then, the familiar wheat smell as I chomp, crunch, crush
my breakfast cereal
Alone among others I watch people.
Crunchy dry throat
I need a long pull of cool, slippery orange.
Now, look up. There he is.
A dishman has come to add to the low saucer stacks.
My eyes hurry with him to the back kitchen.
I can only see one leg and half an apron.
Now two gloved hands…
And what a precarious stack of plates!
He's crossing over to the far end…
I quiet myself.
A crunch, a gulp might topple the attempt.
A frail face behind the plates is as doubtful as mine.
And now one wonderful white Click
The new saucers set, bounce down into place.
Another pull of slippery orange
I let up on that hard, grey spoon and breathe again.

Originally printed in Dancing Star Vol. 17, 1992.


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