The Janitor

Late after work a man sweeps an office.
He can’t go home until the floor is finished:
swept, mopped, waxed. The brush with the long metal handle
is pushed around the filing cabinet and under the desks and chairs.
He mumbles now searching still for dust
while pushing it toward the door.
A draft in the hall raises some dust
and pushes it back at him.
He keeps the beat of the soft sound of his sweeping,
but now furiously, back and forth, as he
bumps the desk and bangs a wall, leaving a dent.
He mutters: “Dust, dust, dust.” He raises his broom,
shaking it at the surrounding silence.

:: William Oandasan, in Beloit Poetry Journal (30:2, Winter 1979-80)

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