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Poem: The Quiet Work


Have you ever been in a public space – after it’s closed to the public?  Poet and Lake Effect contributor Christianna Fritz has:

The Quiet Work

The mall is dark now,
rides folded with tentacle tucked in
brakes quiet
beast sleeping,
while something small, mouse or cockroach
scurries under a bench.

After closing time,
only the janitors make noise
swishing broom and humming vacuum,
comfortable silence of placing can in receptacle
mopping gelato from tile.

I barely notice the janitors,
while hurrying to the bus stop
seconds counted by the clicks of my heels.

It's not until the ride home that I think of them -
still working while others tuck hands under cheek
resting heads on smudged windows.
It's then that I think of my hours spend folding clothes
only to be unfolded ten minutes later
by frantic hands.

It's then that I appreciate the quiet work,
the work of cleaning up
the work of maintaining the idea that the world is tidy,
that the world is new tomorrow.

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