by English Laserna

Dawn—in his hand a notebook—
he tip-toes past the baby’s room, all still.
On a hook by the door a cap, bright white,
banded stripe across the front. He packs bottles
empty into the truck in the crisp morning
breeze, a quick wave to the house.

He passes rows of copied houses,
to the factory where he signs in the book,
and his truck is filled with pristine milk. Morning
dew clings like skin. All the world is still.
A rut in the road makes the bottles
chime a melody, a sound in splashing white.

He fixes his tie for the first client. White
milk against his uniform, light steps to the house,
holding tightly to the milk bottles,
he makes sure to check his notebook.
He knocks and waits in the stillness,
the jacket a barricade against the morning.

Sleep covers his clients like morning
covers the world. From the chill they are white.
With a greet and the tip of his hat he sets the still
milk onto the front porch of their house.
They smile and sign their name in his notebook
he waves and they step inside with chinked bottles.

Back to his truck. Almost empty, no bottles
left, he finished his stops before end of morning.
Signatures have filled his small notebook
He looks for stains on his uniform; the bright white
He is back to the factory; dropping off his extra. Still,
he returns to his welcomed house.

People can’t understand the art of a milkman. House
after house. The sweat beading down the bottles.
Running in and out of a maze, hands never still
How he is awake to see the sunrise of morning.
How he can see their faces. Their robes a new white,
and happy always to sign his notebook.

It is the same, everlasting morning, houses, notebooks
filled, and he will soon deliver more than just bottles
of white milk, like soft drinks and hard, still butter.

But he won’t care.


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