I played waiter on weekends to women and their well-worn wishes
and worries, after or in between or in avoidance of the shopping
and washing and cleaning and stewing, mothers sitting with mother,
packed onto the flattened pile of the green velvet sofa, scorched
with leftover tunes from parted parties and expired expectations,
milk and one sugar, black and boiling with a biscuit, coffee for her
up the road with hair in a chignon as if she wasn’t from round here
and later, maybe, a glass of wine squeezed from a box with a tap;
thinking we were posh when they changed our name from Coolock
to Clonshaugh. I was a willing waiter to these women on weekends
when they dropped in through the backdoor, over the mopped floor
to avoid the hassle of husbands and kids and all the copious concerns
that came a calling, later, looking for coins and cuddles and timings
for dinners and hoping for a spare biscuit while pulling up a chair
in the corner below the parrot; puffed up and padded on his perch.
I was a waiter, waiting, back then, on the far side of understanding,
wondering where I fitted in between the orders and observations,
teas and coffees, the women congregating and the men left waiting,
adding the cream and dunking biscuits and pondering the placement
of that perfectly positioned parrot; puffed and padded upon perch.
All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly.
Inspired by a Poetry Prompt on Twitter.