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How many a weekday afternoon,
at Larry’s or Ajax or The Pig,
sweaty & dejected 
with bloody sliced fingers,
dry cracked hands,
burns running up our arms,
insults from customers still buzzing like flies?
How many a
weekday afternoon,
the off-the-clock staff drunk,
& everyone else boozing up just a little
to shoot customers that 
winning smile.
Trebek doesn’t ask for our phone numbers.
Trebek doesn’t call us racial slurs,
or scream at us,
or refuse to tip,
or lurk outside the restaurant,
waiting for us to stumble home,
our dishrags still in our pockets.
Trebek doesn’t treat us
as things that ferry drinks & food,
as objects to grope & spit on.
When the news hits town
that our happy hour god
has pancreatic cancer,
we carry that weight
with every plate,
every cold beer,
every dirty dish in the bus tub.
If Alex Trebek isn’t there to see us,
we fear we will all melt
in the heavy Oxford heat,
becoming part of the pavement 
beaten down by the tread of tourists.
We forget ourselves,
& all we are is the town we live in.