There is a quiet stillness every night
After dishes have been washed in the sink,
Surfaces wiped down, the floor moped, the grill
Scraped clean, and utensils like the spatula
Placed neatly on aluminum foil. The day’s work
Is over and Joe can go home to rest.
Joe’s intrinsic sense of order does rests
In his kitchen when he leaves for the night.
Usually he gets so backed up with work
That dirty dishes pile high in the sink,
Food debris covers the metal spatula,
And black grease cakes the surface of the grill.
During the lunch and dinner rush, the grill
Is full of cheesesteaks and orders from the rest
Of the menu. Like lightening, Joe’s spatula
Streams chopping, maneuvering the black night
Of the grill’s caked grease. His mood sinks
With incoming orders from those off work
Who are grumpy and angry that he can’t work
Faster to feed their hunger. They just grill
Him with demands like water drains in a sink
Channeling their troubles onto he who cannot rest.
Joe works to stay cheerful but by end of night
He’s ready to attack with spatula.
Watching Joe maneuver the spatula
One wouldn’t guess that his marriage doesn’t work,
That he sleeps on the sofa at night
His brain a’frying on a buttered grill;
That he dreads being alone for the rest
Of his life, just a drain to the world’s sink.
At night leaking pipes under kitchen sink
Spew puddles over the floor. The spatula
Collects dust on its foil with the rest
Of the utensils. When Joe comes to work
In the morning, he heats up his clean grill
And looks across the wrecked stillness of night.
Day after day, the sun sinks into night
While Joe stands over grill with spatuala
At work in dysfunction, waiting to rest