Night Shift

Michelle Schaefer

An average female barmaid and an
ambitious cockroach are pulling another
late shift.

Outside the joint the night trees
are blowing and it’s raining in the biblical

Mabel wipes down the endless bar
with the same rancid rag she has used
every night.

Mabel is not her real name but the
regulars find it easier to say and easier
to remember.

Her hands run through her shocked red hair
and she glosses a weary smile
back into place.

She calls them all “Hon”, a word she’s learned
and leans forward to give them a low
cut peek.

They smile at her with blunt plastic teeth
shaped like the big fat homes in which
they live.

Their lonely hands fill her tip jar
to the brim with the blurred green paper of
her dreams.

Not yet tomorrow she stifles a sigh
as the scheming roach skips out early to catch
the late train.

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