By: Mason Jones
I was a stranger from the moment I tied my apron,
A soulless worker,
Forbidden from any emotion other than that of pure joy.
My face, a plaster mask,
My eyes the only sign of life.
My words, a memorized charade,
Only there to satisfy the customers.
When I was lucky, I would prepare the drinks.
That too, a routine, but one I enjoyed to a point.
My hands that of an automaton, programmed with only one word in mind,
In a single motion, the milk whisked into the pitcher.
The steaming machine coaxed to life and adjusted until it purred its approval,
The milk swirled and frothed into a silky new substance.
The shots pulled,
Hissing, the machine spits them out.
The two opposites mix,
When I was unlucky, I would be put on the window.
There was always a warning,
An alarming sound that signaled the arrival of a new customer.
I would soon grow to despise this sound.
Once again I would put on the mask,
Practice the motions in my head,
Lock my emotions deep inside.
The sound would soon come again,
Leaving me with no respite,
No break from the charade,
Stuck in the cycle until the lazy clock moved its hands.