At work…a series of snapshots


The Waitress


Sally thought everything was

up to luck and she had zero.

Her chances got swept

away with yesterday’s trash.


Every day working in this 

dumpy dinner slinging hash.


There were the regulars

who knew her name and

left good tips.  They had

no place else to go.


Her feet swelled up at 

the end of lunch rush.


Sally wiped tables filling 

ketchup bottles, salt shakers, 

sugar jars while staring out the

window at pulsing rain. 


Waiting a half hour for the bus,  

winds tangling her hair.


She stopped at the market to 

bring a few groceries home.  

Struggling now to open her door, 

only cold rooms would greet her.




The Teacher


She hoped some would leave, 

rise above dirty factory gates

past plumes of smoke spewing

from the cement plant.


Occasionally when discussing

great American novels, the walls

shook. Ravines were blasted

for more rocks to crush into powder.


She wished they would not become

clerks for soul-less chain stores or 

cooks in fast food joints where

smells of burning grease lingered.  


What was the use of teaching literature

and poetry to these children who would

soon grown listless?  Their spirits grinded

down like stones in the quarry.



Maintenance Man


Everything falls apart, 

all things rot and crack.


Each day another tenant

fills out forms to request

repairs.   Hot water tanks

burst, sinks back up, toilets jam. 

Smoke alarms break. 

It’s a messy life, he pushes

against riptide.


All spring and summer,  

weeds keep growing. 

Leaves gather during fall.  

In winter time, ice 

covers walkways.


It’s time to go home now.

Tomorrow he will return

to pick up the pieces again.



About the author:

Joan McNerney’s poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Blueline, Spectrum, three Bright Spring Press Anthologies and several Kind of A Hurricane Publications.  She has been nominated three times for Best of the Net.  Poet and Geek recognized her work as their best poem of 2013.  Four of her books have been published by fine small literary presses and she has three e-book titles.