but who will not move & just watch me get on my hands & knees
to retrieve their napkin? where are the people who will sit & stare
at me struggle with four of their friends & their cuff links
at me in a dress on a cement floor? who will think they can
rightfully lose patience with me when i forget something
inconsequential? who will sigh at me with closed eyes & say
just bring me a fucking martini & then i have to—
who will i limp away from now?
when my nicest table in weeks says to me, oh, you write poetry?
like i always say, go out to eat, & you’re supporting the arts,
can i rewind & not believe them? can i say, i’d rather buy a record
instead, i’d rather tell my friend they’re talented, or read a poem
on the internet, or watch a movie, or donate to a theater
the truth is i was terrified, my whole life seemed propped up
by waiting tables, three jobs with barely cohabitating schedules
& me sucking in whole lungfuls of air whenever i could remember to
& taking power naps at three in the afternoon after teaching
to make sure i’d make it through my closing shift at the restaurant,
i had to plan the night i could see your new movie three weeks in advance
& maybe it’s weird, but i know
you don’t want that for me
i just know it
Aly Pierce is originally from Doylestown, PA and currently lives in Beverly, MA. Her debut collection of poems The Visible Planets (Game Over Books) and split chapbook with Cassandra de Alba, Cryptids (Ginger Bug Press), both came out in 2020. Most recently, she has been published in the Red Ogre Review and Peach Mag. You can find her online as @instantweekend.