I eat dinner with the high king
trade cigarettes with the dishwashers
and wage war with middle management 

I make friends with the owner
the first day of the interview 
but by the end of the first week
we pass by each other with nods
like two silence bearing ghosts 

I walk or run a half marathon daily
with a platter a fifth of my size
and weight 

(I know because I clocked all three) 

I make $2.13 an hour
same as I did as a new hire
ten years ago 

(I know because I kept the paystubs) 

My second job is all lined up
with another interview on the way 

It’s my insurance policy
since I can’t get medical 

and because a king’s favorite
one night 

can often be
guillotined the next 

at the drop
of a court jester’s hat 

I’m the new guy
I’m the old guy 

I look like the young guy
and soon I will be the next guy

anton violazzi poet

Anton Violazzi is the author of the forthcoming novel Ligate. His recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Burial Day BooksShort ÉditionMilitary Experience & the ArtsRough Cut PressZoetic Press, and elsewhere. Over the years, he has worked as a dishwasher, line and prep cook, server, and bartender within the Bible Belt. He lives in, above, and around the Bayou Country.