Martha Perkins — Because death works

Martha Perkins
Because death works

the night shift for $5.85,
he doesn’t care if you want fries
with that or if you left
your wallet in the car.
You will get ice
in your soda, regardless.
Of course the tables
are sticky, the napkin dispensers
jammed, and the bathroom,
Convince yourself
the burger has extra mayonnaise
because the laughter
in the back conveys something
you’d rather not understand,
the way endings come
in crumpled paper,
death’s nod of the head,
and this parking lot
calmly swept
by a lone teenager
smoking a cigarette.

Martha Perkins teaches creative writing and literature at Olivet College in Olivet, Michigan. Before her current gig, she worked as a long-haul truck driver, a ski wear model in Texas, and a cashier at Wendy’s.