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Hungry Heart

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The maid’s sister, Helen, worked in the kitchen
boss of the linoleum floor. Faded jeans folded up to bony
knees, a plaid shirt pushed up past elbows, dingy sleeves—

she mopped. She earned money, supported a do-nothing
husband with low wages from the wealthy homeowner.
Stooped like a hockey player chasing a puck,

she proceeded with vigor to spotlessly
clean the dirty floor. She swished the looped-cotton
mop round and round in figure eight’s catching

dirt and heel marks beneath counters, in corners. Then she plopped
the dangled threads into a soapy bucket near her grimy sneakers.
Stringy strands soon slapped moldings, splashed nearby shoes.

“Watch-out hon’!” Helen yelled gleefully when the young
daughter (bored in her house, cuddler of maids), of the rich mistress
jumped over the curlicue clump headed to her favorite destination:
the refrigerator, packed with unlimited food—
leftover meatloaf, juicy steak, chocolate cake, succulent shrimp,
whatever the maid cooked —all to nourish a hungry heart.