Thank you to Silver Birch for another inspiring prompt and for publishing my poem.
Lunch In the Ivory Tower
by Betsy Mars
Racing in between classes
we waited, prim primrose uniforms,
soiled aprons, leaky pens in pocket.
Checking our stations with fingers crossed.
Kowtowing to the power-hungry manager
who assigned them, knowing he held our fate
in his perfidious palms. Ass-kissing: first lesson.
Serving, invisibly, the uncivil engineers,
the antisocial workers, the hyper-political scientists,
we jostled in the kitchen before the wheel of fortune
which held the ticket to our tips —
begging Gil, the grizzled Cajun,
as he slowly stirred
the pot of gumbo, dropping ashes
and ignoring our pleas — currying favor
with busboys, supporters in the cause. Second lesson.
Mixed-up orders, kitchen crookery,
we were all complicit, all forgiving in the rush
to get our esteemed professors
their daily bread — liver and onions,
Monte Cristo sandwiches, glasses of wine
or endless refills of coffee. Insatiable:
Nobel prize winners or underachievers…
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