The Busier the Kitchen the Filthier the Dishes

Your lunch spot becomes a haven on the ground
level of a tower between towers on rainy workdays.

Your eyes strained at the sight of a waterfall
of text and maybe you missed
an important error in copy
marketed to clients. Here, though,

the dishwasher sprays a thousand plates,
aiming spouts at cheese stains hardened
from sitting by the garbage in
the place where discarded trays should be.

Water pressure removes ceramic sin
eventually, an industrial machine
humming in silver efficiency,
skin rinsed beside it.

Glasses that pass the spot test emerge,
steam rising, but meat lodged between
prongs is wrestled out with wet finger.

Your fork drips from the steak
just in a salesman’s mouth.

 

(originally published in Stickman Review, Spring 2018)

R+X

the pharmacist
in her white coat
behind the coffin counter

instructed me to call the one-
eight-hundred number

but one plus eight equals nine
and nine is the first number
in nine-one-one
and there are two zeroes
in one-eight-hundred and
two ones in nine-one-one
and if you rotate the number
it’s a four-story building
crooked at the hollow nest
and what of the four
zero floors –
the barren families, pine
and needle. They scrape and dial
my throat’s frigid tones,
white shell.

I chewed my gum and thought,
what a pleasant sound ducks’ feet must make
when they waddle.
soft-boiled trampolines.