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Poetry

No you’re not a saint
because you spare the maid
a stubborn skid mark
by swiping the bowl clean
with an oven-mitt-
sized toilet-paper wad
during the one mid-flush
moment between water’s
vanishing and return
before you step under
the turbo multi-jet
gleaming steaming solid-brass
showerhead so brilliantly
designed to make you feel
exactly as it does (caressed
and warmed and comforted)
with luminous blonde shampoo,
cream conditioner, and baby blue
cleansing gel in “personal bottles.”
What exists for which
you have no senses?
While wet warmth massages
your skull and brainstem,
yes you may pray that Rosarita
who signed and propped
the housekeeper’s card
hopefully on the nightstand
may on a slow day
bolt the room’s safety chain,
shed her uniform,
and pop into this shower
to sing the happiest song
from her dirt-floor childhood
and feel a few minutes free
from labor and economic terror
and every distress they bring her
and her children if she has them
and her husband if she has one
and her parents and brothers and sisters
if they’re still alive,
but there’s still no getting around
the fact that you are not she
and she may be happier than you are
and such prayers may even be
merely masturbatory blasphemy
if God, whatever sort of creature
or force or energy source
(like a nuclear power plant?)
he is or isn’t, won’t answer
human suffering except through
human impulse to address it.
So slip twenty bucks instead of ten
under the housekeeper’s card
after you dry off and pack
and do not bother to picture
what a monster you are
without such petty acts of kindness
and don’t forget to tip the bellman.


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