Minimum Wage

by Luke Samuel Yates

I have never worked


on grass so sharp

that it cuts into my feet like glass.


under a sun so hot

that the soles of my trainers melted

welding me to the ground

hanging in a sky so empty

so spotlessly bare that I can see solar systems


wood pigeons are still,

smooth, wooden statues,

bead eyes glimmer –

they teach the worms to fly

and die.


I have never worked

among dropping silver pinecones

where tomatoes swell and blush as I watch

and abrupt gales bring trees, chimneys crashing to my feet


or in a place where my watch

ticks like a dripping tap

and my clothes stick to me skin-tight

for fear of the air

where trees reposition and starlings fly from my nostrils

when I cough or sneeze

and my ears try to meet

at the back of my head.


But someone’s got to do it.