19 Jan: "The Truth" by Ross Gay

The Truth

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Because he was 38, because this
was his second job, because
he had two daughters, because his hands
looked like my father's, because at 7
he would walk to the furniture warehouse,
unload trucks 'til 3 AM, because I
was fourteen and training him, because he made
$3.75 an hour, because he had a wife
to look in the face, because
he acted like he respected me,
because he was sick and would not call out
I didn't blink when the water
dropped from his nose
into the onion's perfectly circular
mouth on the Whopper Jr.
I coached him through preparing.
I did not blink.
Tell me this didn't happen.
I dare you.


  1. I love Mr. Gay's poems!

    His never ending phrases are so fun to read. And the mixture of lightheartedness and seriousness is perfect.

    The first sentence is 15 lines long. Then the short to the point sentences to close.

    It is a funny story because of the running nose dripping into a whopper, but the truth is real. These gentlemen probably lost their other jobs at the warehouse after all these years. Still, they work hard and do what they have to to support their families. Even when they are too sick to make a burger without dripping their noses into the perfect onions.

    Or maybe there is another story. Either way, the guy is doing what he has to do.

  2. The suspense in the run-on sentence is high. It feels as if leading to a demise, and yet, the hard work continues on.

    I am not sure why he chose-nose drip. For a common cold-like effect or for drugs (why does my mind always go here in explanation?!)....your comment that he is doing what he has to do no matter why on earth his nose is dripping rings true.

  3. After reading this months later, the dripping might just be sweat because it is hot in the kitchen.

    Also the narrator sounds like a 14 year old. Because, because, because.. the kid is the trainer and the older guy is trying, so he can't say anything. Doesn't even blink