Shiva by Wayne F. Burke

I used to work for Mr. Goutay
from India
who owned a house
and a motel
he said “today we do a leetle plum-bing”
connecting water pipes and
soldering them
something I knew nothing about
and I scorched my fingers with the blow torch
all because he was cheap
and refused to hire a plumber;
he drove a shitty used Volvo
and would drive ten miles out of his way
to buy a sandwich on sale
and then he licked the mustard packet
after he used it
every now and then he touched a finger
to his forehead and
said the name of his god:
After the plum-bing fiasco
he said that he could not pay me
and we argued in his car
until he coughed up some jack
and after that
I did not work for him again
but every once in awhile
I would touch a finger to my forehead
and say “Shiva!”
but I did not see that
it ever did me any good.

Wayne F. Burke’s poetry has appeared in a variety of publications (including “In Between Hangovers”). His three published poetry collections, all from Bareback Press, are WORDS THAT BURN, DICKHEAD, and KNUCKLE SANDWICHES. His chapbook PADDY WAGON is published by Epic Rites Press. He lives in Vermont.

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