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Waiting Tables by Alison Jennings



One summer as a teen I waited tables

at a local greasy spoon for college cash.

I did the best job there that I was able,

but can sympathize with those typecast white trash.


When a lull occurred, I was told to mash

potatoes, and like the Cinderella fable,

had to clean the grill, rake out the ash—

one summer as a teen I waited tables.


Though college-bound, I lacked any labels;

no one knew that as a student I had flash,

that I was working (so that I could pay bills)

at a local greasy spoon for college cash;


and had to be calm, not do something rash

or give a sign that I might be unstable—

like party all night at a frenzied bash—

I did the best job there that I was able;


yet to smile and smile I was unable—

I’d bite my tongue, my teeth I’d gnash;

there was no way that I would ever play ball,

but can sympathize with those typecast white trash.


Though they use no whip, nor beat you with a lash,

a waitress job can sometimes become fatal

to one’s self-worth, which suffers a big crash

without a chance to turn the tables

as a teen.


Editor's note: The form of this poem is a rondeau redouble.



Alison Jennings is a Seattle-based poet who began submitting her work after retiring from public school teaching. She recently had 30 poems published in various literary journals. Please visit her website: https://sites.google.com/view/airandfirepoet/home


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