It is one of the jobs that keep the world running smoothly. Waitresses are often criticized, usually mistake-prone, and sometimes stellar. They are divine harbingers of good cuisine, but they can wreck a dining experience with slow feet or bad memory. The job description is simple in principle, but in practice it may combine the tasks of a barista, babysitter, entertainer, salesperson, and counselor into one.

I’ll spare you my philosophy about what makes a good waitress, my waitressing history, and the story of how I once dropped a tray of seven glasses of water on a customer. Instead, I’d like to share a sonnet I wrote after I left work last night. Enjoy.

Refined savagery, Saturday night, 6 p.m. 

Dinnertime is here. Through the glass door come

concave bellies. They line cracked green booths and

stack sticky menus: “Hey, waitress!” Demand

of me sausage, meatballs, beer; leave me crumbs

and greasy napkins. Pleased chorus of “mmm”

but I can’t stop to watch the show: eight hands

destroy a House Special (rip it to shreds,

leave only pan. Waddle out.) I become

a zookeeper as I feed my pizza-

loving species their thin crust (well done, please).

Except I’m the caged one, branded by grey

polo, straws in pocket. Animals eat,

I refill. Repeat. Achy feet my fee

for this high class chore, folded ones my pay.


2 thoughts on “Waitress

  1. Brooke,

    I’m sorry I haven’t commented in a while. I’m sooo glad you’ve started posting again. Thanks for the sonnet. 🙂


  2. Brooke,
    Reading each of your carefully created posts inspires me to write when I am feeling anything but inspired. You are right that writers can have no excuse not to write! For me this poem (and post) tells of the silent endurance harbored within individuals who must give of themselves often without much gratitude in return.


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