Day Job and Night Job
After my night job, I sat in class and ate, every thirteen minutes, an orange peanut—butter cracker. Bright grease adorned my notes. At noon I rushed to my day job and pushed a broom enough to keep the boss calm if not happy. In a hiding place, walled off by bolts of calico and serge, I read my masters and copied Donne, Marlowe, Dickinson, and Frost, scrawling the words I envied, so my hand could move as theirs had moved and learn outside of logic how the masters wrote. But why? Words would never heal the sick, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, blah, blah, blah. Why couldn't I be practical, Dad asked, and study law— or take a single business class? I stewed on what and why till driving into work one day, a burger on my thigh and a sweating Coke between my knees, I yelled, "Because I want to!"— pained—thrilled!—as I looked down from somewhere in the blue and saw beneath my chastened gaze another slack romantic chasing his heart like an unleashed dog chasing a pickup truck. And then I spilled my Coke. In sugar I sat and fought a smirk. I could see my new life clear before me. lt looked the same. Like work.
"Day Job and Night Job," from Ecstatic in the Poison by Andrew Hudgins. Copyright © 2003 by Andrew Hudgins. Used by permission of Overlook Press (www.overlookpress.com).
Date Published: 2003-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/day-job-and-night-job