Today's poem is by Tony Hoagland


The waiter in the expensive restaurant
gets tipped nine dollars for pouring a glass of wine.
The waitress in the hash joint
gets a dollar twenty-five for delivering

three plates of scrambled eggs with hash browns,
toast, Canadian bacon, biscuits and gravy,
plus medium OJs for two and coffee for everyone.

This is the condition of which Marx spoke,
which has forged the deformed world,
to which you are obedient,

-as the bill arrives,
and the credit card is signed and run,
and the receipt sticks out its little tongue

and you feel that small frisson which comes
from being ever so much on top of it
as in the foyer of the restaurant, Andre

wishes you a very good evening sir, indeed,
and clicks his heels;
as in the diner, with no one watching,

the waitress scrubs at a stain on the tabletop
and laughs at something
nobody hears but her.

Copyright © 2015 Tony Hoagland All rights reserved
from Copper Nickel
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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