“Minimum-wage workers are older than they used to be.”

The New York Times, June 9, 2014



Yes, it’s true.

I have confirmed it by close personal observation of the girl behind the counter at the Dunkin’ Donuts on Union Turnpike.

I go in there twice a week for a glazed donut and a cup of coffee

And I always leave a $7 tip on top of my $3 tab.

And no, it’s not because she’s so cute

Although I can understand why you would think that.

It’s because she always refills my cup when it’s running low and because she lets me linger for hours sipping coffee and scribbling poetry and because I like to add a little supplement to her measly minimum wage.

Lately I have noticed little lines forming next to the corners of her eyes.

Don’t get me wrong, she’s still just as cute as ever, the little lines become her,

But they do lead me to conclude that she is indeed older than she used to be.


And it’s not just the minimum-wage workers.

I have also observed the manager of the Dunkin’ Donuts.

I see that his paunch has expanded,

Which could just be a side effect of the donuts he ingests,

But I also see that his hairline has receded,

Which I think is clear evidence that he, too, is older than he used to be.


And then there’s my dentist.

At my last annual cleaning, I noticed that his hands were shaking slightly when he stuck his instruments into my mouth.

I didn’t want to hurt his feelings by saying anything so I closed my eyes and pretended it wasn’t happening.

(I have found this to be an effective technique for dealing with the unpleasant or dangerous situations that come up in my life.)

But afterwards, when I was safely home again, I had to admit that my dentist is probably older than he used to be.


Hillary Clinton is definitely older than she used to be.

So is Derek Jeter.


Even Uncle Alvin.

There was a time when I believed that Mom’s kid brother would be forever young

But that was before Aunt Debbie died.

In just the six months since Debbie left us, Al has become noticeably older than he used to be.

His sparkle has diminished.

And that breaks my heart.


So it seems that just about everyone is older than they used to be

Except for the poets.

Not all, but most of the poets I know are younger than they used to be.

I don’t know why that is.

I think we need a crack investigative reporter from The New York Times to look into this phenomenon and find out what is going on with the poets.


by Pesach Rotem


Pesach Rotem was born and raised in New York and now lives in northern Israel. He received his B.A. from Princeton University and his J.D. from St. John’s University. His poems have been published or are forthcoming in Voices Israel, the Deronda Review, Constellations, The Saint Ann’s Review, and East Coast Literary Review.

Listed at Duotrope
Listed with Poets & Writers
CLMP Member
List with Art Deadline
Follow us on MagCloud