and it’s nice this way, talking food, health, our various educations.
You’re quick they grin, lift full trays. Their approval
is nectar to me.
Quick for what, though, no babies,
most customers’ language my own.
I Google sofrito in the bathroom,
having nodded enthusiastically to Do you know? Not knowing,
not telling the truth, my real job.
Lager sparkles in pint glasses. A hip opens the patio door.
To tell the truth, it is easier to be good.
Never mind low pay, the preferred currency of ignorance.
Perfection is a familiar vehicle one enters and can operate alone.
Trash scatters in the breeze. A washed pile of linens waits.
Out back, one mother swaps shifts with her son.
Maybe quick is in the blood? But at home,
my brothers’ intelligent thumbs
work only Call of Duty controls. How can I make them pay bills?
Dad texts. I don’t say:
a high-pitched acquiescence gets me paid.
A torrent of ice, the bucket swings gracefully in straining arms.
I cannot be alone in all I do not voice.
Twelve years of What can I get you?
begets bafflement in a black apron.
The mothers and I smile, grab keys, kiss goodbye,
our remote material ordinary as some locked and darkened office.