A Poem for Labor Day

The guys I work with on coffee break. Photo by Arlitia Jones.

The guys I work with on coffee break. Photo by Arlitia Jones.

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.

–Arlitia Jones

4 Comments on “A Poem for Labor Day

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