Waiting for Rain by Fred Shaw

Ice pails air-dry on a stainless ledge
while we servers, hungry and hung-over,
hustle for an always-early lunch crowd
of middle-aged kids escorting crease-cheeked women

wheeling their walkers, white-knuckled.
Small feet in canvas Keds shuffle over leaf-print carpet,
like delicate wind-up toys,
cogs and gears turning.

We move like bees, table to table,
keeping the coffee filled, clearing the dirtied china,
wary of their delicate bones,
we try to tread lightly in heavy black shoes.

To know this life as a parade of Sundays
is to begin an education in a culture of demand,
topping-off the half-empty glasses
of the dry-mouthed,

as if the water pitcher we lug about the dining room
is a full cloud and the thirsty must wait,
like dry plants waiting for rain,
their roots buried in sand.


About Fred Shaw