the job of the poet

the man on tv
says it’s the job of the poet
to know the spirit
that even though the eternal is available
to everybody
some people might not get around to it
because of economic necessity
well, some poets
have economic necessities too
like me
five days late with the rent
and it’s an economic necessity
that forces me
to stand at a table
in front of a bug-eyed man
who doesn’t want his lettuce
touching the bun
and write all that shit down
there is nothing eternal
in that experience
except maybe the guy’s baby
looking up at me with the same
bug-eyed worry
the thought of generations
of bug eyes
concerned that their buns
don’t get wet
something eternal there
something that makes me smile
as i walk into the kitchen
with his order
fulfilling his and my
at one time

wendy shaffer


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