There is a special circle of hell

reserved for grudging misers who order

three large fries,

two burgers with no mustard, no hot sauce, no ketchup, no pickles

(but they wanted extra mayonnaise)

a salad with no onions, no tomatoes, no salt, no oil.

(So just limp lettuce on a plate.)

and two towering drinks,

(sending one back because it was "too late")

then leave behind nothing more than loose change.


Like a half-dozen dimes will be enough

to soothe my aching feet

and pay for water and electricity.

This is ridiculous.

I have a college degree and my debt is worth more

than my parents make in a year.

I spend long hours cleaning tables

stained with food and sugar and spit,

then get paid less than minimum wage at the end of it.

Grad school will be even more expensive.


But when the next customer comes, I plaster on my smile.

Hopefully they know what 20% looks like.