I should have buttoned up my lip;
I asked, "Please, would you take the trash?"
Groceries brought, he was set to dash,
(But not before he got a tip).
He took it, but his look was pained.
Did I assault his self-esteem?
Why else be upset as he seemed?
His manner brusque, his politeness feigned.
Was my request too much to ask?
Less like a plea, than a command?
I needed him to give a hand,
The matter was a simple task.
These days I find that walking's hard,
A trip downstairs, a little rough,
And what I asked was small enough;
The trash bin's right there in the yard.
"Don't take advantage," mom would scold,
"Well-brought-up people never do;
And try to wear the other's shoes."
I memorized that precept cold.
Did I invade some private space?
Was my request too much for him,
One taken as too burdensome,
That weighed upon his sense of place?
If he comes back, next time I'll be
A master of gentility,
And make sure that I never bash
His self-esteem, by talking trash.