Sunday, October 10, 2010

Poem of the Week #145

Good Greek Gal

The thing about my Athenian Palace summer
waitress job, the one my Aunt Helen got me,
is that it wouldn’t have been so bad

that I did not speak Greek except that
the owner, his brother, Gus (who cooked)
his two sons, his niece and nephew,

and assorted distant cousin dishwashers all seemed
to be asking themselves in the garlicky kitchen,
What kind of Greek doesn’t speak Greek?

Every night, they gave me the sideways eyeball,
Greek whispers punctuated by guffaws and giggles.
Did I mention I was only fifteen?

Late one evening, a lady came into the Palace.
She was all dolled up and in a hurry;
her car left running, her mascara too.

Teased-up hair, tanned and puckered
cleavage crowning her low-necked sweater.
She needed change for some unknown reason,

confusing me with fast talk.
She was scamming me for a twenty.
Wait a minute, I said. Gus was in back,

but he spoke no English at all.
John, up front, my retired sea captain,
my regular, awoke from his 7 and 7.

He said, Lady, leave number.
Later, we count drawer.
We call if over, we give back twenty.

She left without providing
her contact info. You see? John,
I said, John, you saved me.

Nah, he said. You smart.
You good Greek gal.
I just help.

Lisa Vihos

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