“Living Water”

Read "Living Water", a poem about work ethic.

A dishwasher seemed essential,
so when mine broke down—
despite Covid knocking at my door,
I went out and bought one.
The delivery date was after lockdown,
but the installer arrived as scheduled.
Wiping his cracked brown shoes
on the rug, he said the store was closed,
but they were honoring deliveries.
Working on my laptop at the kitchen table,
I asked if the company would keep paying
its employees. No, he said, and shrugged.
I wanted to hug him, but, of course,
I kept my distance. Once he took a call from
his kids’ school—an upcoming meeting
he promised to attend. The job took two hours,
as he hummed Blue skies smiling at me,
making me grin, though the day was dreary.

After he tested his work and was sure
all was well, he loaded up his tools, pulling
on a stained and faded jacket, smiling sweetly,
missing teeth. Would he be insulted
if I over-tipped him? I took the chance,
guessing what he made went to decent
shoes and dental work for his children.
His acceptance was a gift. I didn’t know
he’d be the last person in my home for months
or that I’d still think of him now—when I hear
the hum and churn of the dishwasher—
a fellow traveler through unknown waters.

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