Back then it was so simple: a lady would
ask you for a drink, and you’d make it.

The only crisis would be how large, ten
more cents please, or watch your step.

These places being icy sometimes, even
indoors. The cash drawer opened, shut.

A few teenagers doing the Charleston
in a corner we didn’t surveillance.

A rickety man asking me to make him
a Nutty Irishman, though not a bar.

Sorry, all we had was milk and coffee
and resentment. Irish, but not nutty.

When we weren’t busy working we
were glad we’d been born this century.

And thus weren’t lacemakers, maids,
maids who made some lace on the side.

I had a small picture of a dead man
in my pocket, because that felt right.

Even if we weren’t in the 19th century
and learning how to board steamers.

Even if the checks we deposited went
toward lighting our own single burners.

Photo by: hairnicks