Promised

Things are distorted by fluorescent light.

Artificial shadows inscribe purple C’s
under a worker’s eyes.
Coveralls are creased curtains drawn
over individuals, they cannot contain
the occasional humor
rising between their fasteners,
rolled up in the boot-sock,
wrinked in a bird-fingered glove
below a smile.

Is the currency of anonymity
traded freely
on the graveyard shift?
Sometimes a caterwaul or song will bounce
between the metal drums,
push back at
the whining propane powered forklifts
in strange solo invitations.
Company violations are secreted
in unspoken brotherhood-oaths
covered and kept,
forgotten and swept.

Stacks still funnel away toxic
particulates, the steamed barbiturates
of societal processing.
Facilitated and calibrated, overseen
by the upright ant
in all his delicacy,
with his downey fur, his thoughts
wrapped in a hardhat.

Perhaps against this light,
within the manufactured hills
our magnificent fragility
is contrast,
more apparent, broadcast.
It stands exquisitely diaphanous
in a pair of Redwings and safety glasses,
represented in allegro steps,
kept
through the years
in a compromised
pension’s promise.

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