First Job
Elizabeth Acevedo

I rise with the bread.
Sleepy-eyed and yawning
walk the four blocks,
clock in and clean the windows.
Forgot to lock the door.
Put the day-old bagels
near the front of the display.
Sweep. Wash the counters.
Check the register.
Forgot to lock the door.
By the time I hear the welcome chime
the bum already has his dick in a fist, stroking.
Miguel, baking scones in the back,
hears me scream.
Laughs as he runs the man off.
Why your hands shakin’, girl?
I forgot to lock the door.
And so I mop. Greet customers.
Percolate coffee. Warm bread.
Pretend the girl inside of me
isn’t just a small roach
always waiting for a boot to fall.


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