Panera Dress Code

a polo
means
sacrifice

so I shave
my patch
of beard

small hairs over
splotchy white
sink

every day the
eggstained
jeans

I will take
this meager
pay

to bring
garbage
to a dumpster

and wash
a stranger’s
dish

in a brown
apron
that is far

enough
outside
of me

to make me
believe
this is not

me

 

(originally published in Northampton Poetry Review, Spring 2019)

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