Robert Fillman is the author of House Bird (Terrapin, 2022). His poems have appeared in The Hollins Critic, Poetry East, Salamander, Spoon River Poetry Review, Tar River Poetry, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and others. His criticism has appeared in ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and the Environment, The College Language Association Journal, and elsewhere. His chapbook, November Weather Spell, was published by Main Street Rag Publishing in 2019. He teaches at Kutztown University.

Essential Worker

There was only one blackemployee at our school,Danny the janitor who cleaned up the crumbs fromour Little Debbie cakesat lunch. Danny, who scrubbed the toilets, the muscled thirty-something guy whobecame our protector, who broke up playground fightsand chased down basketballs,raised us up so we could  dunk on a ten-foot rim.Danny, whose closet was by the library where …

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