Nothing came up, and the money ran out,
so I found a job in the neighborhood—
food service, a new joint called The Pie Shop.
My work is what you might call whatever—
“Whatever sells the pies,” my boss says.
Turns out I’m a natural. A Midwestern smile
proves to be a mighty whatever. The pies fly.
But we’re talking savory—meat—not sweet pies.
No cherry, no pumpkin, no banana cream.
Sorry. No, ma’am, we don’t have apple either.
No sweet ones. Sorry. Thanks for coming in.
Smile. Then, more often than not, they buy
a shepherd’s anyway, or a mince and cheese.
Never before have I said “I’m sorry” so often.
Never before have I been so forgiven.
Anthony Carelli holds an MFA in poetry from New York University. Currently he is director of coffee at a savory pie shop in Brooklyn. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in such magazines as Columbia, Memorious, AGNI online, and The New Yorker. His first book of poems, Carnations, will be published by Princeton University Press. (updated 6/2010)