Some light sci-fi verse, about a janitor in a not-too-distant dystopian future who sees the girl of his dreams …
I’ve seen you walk here many times, in uniform of grey:
Thin fronds of jet black teasing from your hood, your rosy smile
Unlike the tense-lipped tolerance of cleanup crew’s delay
As we make pristine clean this stretch of skyway, our own mile.
You must work up in Tower 9, upon the 13th floor.
I’m pretty good at guessing and I heard you once before,
One time when I was kneeling in the middle of the way
To towel up a spill of LiftMe Juice from cart astray.
I noticed then the way you walked, the bouncing of your step
As though your spirit from your drabby office garment leapt.
You didn’t trundle through my work zone, causing me more mess.
You stepped around me and you smiled; you’re not like all the rest.
I’ve watched for you each morning since that fateful Autumn day,
Admiring the way you walk, the things you sometimes say.
You have the finest ankles of the morning madness press,
And you define your uniform as though it were a dress.
You fill my heart with joy as I keep clean this skyway mile.
I yearn each day to earn from you another flashing smile.
Though bound by law to our professions, choice in love’s still free.
I have no one to call my own; have you a designee?
If you would spend some time with me, I’d treat you as a queen.
And I have keys to many doors through which you’ve never been.
I don’t know what your family’s like, if they’d look down on me,
But I’ve much more inside of me than what you outward see.
My father taught at school before the Economic War,
Way beyond the city walls, in part of Sector 4.
We lived nearby inside a house, old dwelling made of wood.
Back then, would you believe, we thought it small. The old place stood
Until the riots of ’26, when all-consuming fire
Made level almost every block and brought the low up higher.
Back then, when we could choose our trades, I had no wish for work;
I sought to earn with music and gave labor but a smirk.
But once the Occupation Laws placed all of us in castes
To give, they say, stability, “to all a job that lasts,”
I gave up singing from my heart and I no longer played.
My soul now spent upon my duties, boss’s call obeyed,
I am assigned to this one place, within this great machine,
Yet mine’s a vital role to fill, to keep this skyway clean.
You’re like a brand-new melody that feels like ancient prayer.
You make me want to man my station, just in case you’re there.
I watch for you among the endless sea of fleeting feet,
In hopes the pressing sway allows for you and I to meet.
You must have many offers from the gents in higher castes,
But if you’ll take a chance with me, I’ll give you love that lasts.
Allow me if you will, sweet nymph, your precious hand to take;
I’ll worship you like old-world knight; my heart is yours to break.
Oh goddess in your garb of grey, who works in Tower 9,
Although we haven’t spoken yet, my heart’s already thine.