Custodian’s Song 2

by Joe Engel

I’ve heard, one mopping a tile floor

can achieve a state

of Zen. Wet strokes, 

a certain repetition.

But in this work

my elevation stays tied

in the boots on my feet.

The words “hurry” and “Zen”

only fuse for long distance runners.

My awareness is drawn

into the air return

from which comes 

an occasional whine.

I listen to the sound

of my thoughts being purified. 

I hope at the end of my shift

that I completed a circle.

My forehead wrinkled

by work I may have missed.

I swear I still feel dust

in the air, before it settles


the next place to begin.

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