Every night, I carry the hot bowls,
table to table,
set them down under the chins of lovers.
They look up at me like children.
I want to tell them
about the burns on my hands,
that the palms are almost numb
after so many years and so many dishes
too long under the heat lamp.
There is only one line of skin left delicate,
and if I open my hands
I can feel everything on that thin strip,
the inner edges of my thumbs.
Instead I ask: Do you need anything?
The answer is almost always No or Yes
or, An extra fork, please, I dropped mine.
Photo by Susan Sermoneta