Clean Up By Carl Wade Thompson

Clean Up

It’s the end of the day,
the classes are done.
Students flee like fire,
professors the last to go.
They pass me with my gear,
Mop bucket, dust mop,
cart full of chemicals,
garbage sacks, white rags,
my tools of the trade.
I’m the invisible man.
They never see me,
look down, turn away,
pretend I don’t exist.
But still I come each day,
to clean up their mess.
Embarrassed, seekers of truth,
look down on me,
the measly laborer.
I don’t know books,
can barely read anyhow.
But I know things, know plenty,
how to wax and strip a floor,
clean toilets till there spotless,
how to remove gum, paint.
I know these things,
do them every day.
It’s not much,
But I’m good just the same.
They don’t see me,
but they know I’m there.
If I didn’t clean up,
college would be closed tomorrow.
So they can pretend I’m not here,
but they need me,

By Carl Wade Thompson


Carl Wade Thompson is a poet and graduate writing tutor at Texas Wesleyan University. His work has appeared in The Mayo Review, The Concho River Review, Cenizo, Anak Sastra, The Galway Review, The Blue Collar Review, and Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas.

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