Maintenance Man
by Joan McNerney

Everything falls apart,
all things rot and crack.

Each day another tenant
fills out forms to request
repairs. Hot water tanks
burst, sinks back up, toilets jam.
Smoke alarms break.
It’s a messy life, he pushes
against riptide.

All spring and summer,
weeds keep growing.
Leaves gather during fall.
In winter time, ice
covers walkways.

It’s time to go home now.
Tomorrow he will return
to pick up the pieces again.

PHOTO: Maintenance worker, photo by Fran, used by permission. 

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Quite a while ago I decided to write about people at work. These workers are often overlooked regarding the complexity of their occupations. Particularly during the pandemic, we should be grateful to these essential workers.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joan McNerney’s poetry is found in many literary magazines, such as Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Poet Warriors, Blueline, and Halcyon Days, as well as in four Bright Hills Press anthologies, several editions of the  Poppy Road Review, and numerous Spectrum Publications.  Her latest title, The Muse In Miniature, is available on and  She has four Best of the Net nominations.