A Poem for Labor Day
Poem for a Small Meat Shop
for Mit, Rudy and Son of Rudy
Monday morning always a zoo,
freight rolling in and the restaurants calling in
out of sirloins, out of tenderloins, out of pork chops
for godsakes and now it’s up to you
to stand hours cutting
the day into 8oz portions to replenish
the larder behind a city’s appetite for the weekend.
You work for the wage and live by the yield
and take five at the next coffee break
when you wipe your hands on your apron,
lean your hip against the cutting table
to cross your arms and listen
to the other meatcutter’s joke about the guy…
but the damn phone never quits ringing
and across town some executive chef
is clear out of bulk sausage
and the whole fucking world
is going to come to a bad end
if it’s not delivered before lunch.
Pick up your knife.
You belong to a class of people
named for a verb, to a trade of men
stained with blood. The red
on these steaks is vital, brilliant,
against white mylar, the only color
in the whole damn place.
400 each center cut tops.
You made them.