—a poem by Wayne F. Burke

Mr. Gootay, from India
owned a funky restaurant
on the backside of Harvard Square
in Cambridge, Mass., where
I worked as fry cook
putting out breakfast
and lunch
and sweating my hangovers
over a sizzling grill
that baked my brain
and made me thirsty again,
and one night after work,
in a bar in Central Square,
where Harvard does not live,
I got the shit beat out of me
and the next morning
I went to work wearing
mirror sunglasses and
band-aids on my face,
and Mr. Gootay asked
"what happened, Vane?"
and I said "I walked into a door,"
and Mr. Gootay,
standing with hands behind his back
and wearing a short white jacket
that made him look like a doctor,

Wayne F. Burke has published two poetry collections, WORDS THAT BURN, and DICKHEAD, with Bareback Press, and has a third collection, KNUCKLE SANDWICHES, forthcoming (5/16).