Wasted Citrus

When I bike home, I don’t listen to music. I listen to the hiss and rush of traffic,

of birds passing overhead, to the zzzz’s that escape from the chain as I coast.

I take a quick left and flash by a dumpster reeking of last nights leftovers

The alleys are marked by wandering trails of thick liquid-

sour mop water, spilled drinks, melted ice and the spit of

a dozen servers who wish smoke breaks lasted all weekend.

There are clear and black straws clogging the flow,

bright yellow lemons and neon limes keep leaves

and wrappers from reaching the bottom of the drain.

In daylight, the alleys are silent

the spills dry and the spent cigarette butts almost look like confetti

but I can’t imagine anyone celebrating such an infamous end.

By night, the kitchen doors are propped open and the sounds of dinner

spill into the streets.

Stainless steel freezers guard the inside entry way

and the crash and rattle of plates is eclipsed by laughter and the shouts of servers.

Smells waft between the buildings, overcoming for a moment the

scent of yesterdays special.

Overturned buckets and broken chairs litter the space between

stacks of cardboard and broken glassware,

poised to offer a brief respite from a double shift.

I turn off the ally onto a street where the

trees reach across the road, their branches intertwining

above the pavement, blocking the stars from the sky,

the galaxies that look like spilled confetti on a dark street.

The sounds of so many servers carrying clean and

filthy silverware die out, to be replaced by the

rushing wind. I speed home to rest my weary feet,

thankful that more than broken chairs and

overturned buckets await them.


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