In Praise of Professionals

I admire the bank teller’s patience as she flicks
bill after bill to the waiting faces. She has
counted it out so many times it is only stacks of
paper. She is like the doctor, who, after having
his eyes scratched at by children, maintains his
composure like the conductor sweating under
the lights. The bull fighter, the waiter, the
teacher– not until after they’ve mastered their
craft does a calm, when it is tested, turn to an
energy, the crowd reduced to a mild hindrance
while the delicacy of a scalpel or seasoned herb
is administered with grace. The professionals
know most people take what they do for
granted. The snow falls in bucketfuls and
someone rises from sleep, dresses for the
weather, and splices the darkness, the plow’s
headlights leaving behind an anonymous path. 

Peter Bethanis’s poems and art have appeared in several journals including Poetry, Tar River Poetry, Country Journal, Split Lip, and The Wallace Stevens Journal among others.  He has been a featured poet in Poetry Magazine and has also won the Eve of St. Agnes Poetry Award.  He is the author of two books, Dada and Surrealism for Beginners and American Future.  He is a member of the writing program at Ball State University where he has taught for over twenty years. 

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