the written word.

Jobs

(The one where you were a carpenter)
Eight hours of the saw, electric,
and your hands dream
of the silver spin,
the cut,
pine and skin.

Everything you could make.
Everything that could unmake you.

(The one in the Mitsubishi plant)
You, made of tin,
thin as a violin string,
going where the fat
union man can’t.

The belly of the smoke-
stacks. A length of time
unclocked. Black close
as cold fog. Imagine
the sudden arm
that finds you.

(The one in the greenhouse)
Repetition patterns
what’s quilted on closed eyelids:
rows of posies,
rows of posies,
rows of posies.

Dirt ground
into furrowed hand.

(The one where you hauled granite)
A joke about Sisyphus: body
without self. Bowed
body strung bow-taut.

(The one where you counted soybeans)
Hill of beanscounter:

Everyone can amount
to something.

(The one at the lumberyard)
Storm spins out,
spiral widening the sky.

Hazard new hands given fork
lifts, hazard the levers, hazard
the hounding rain.

(The one in the chemical plant)
Into the drum
the turbine moves you:

Here, everyone knows someone
dead.

(After hours)
Eat an orange and
it’s gone but for

the zest flesh
under the rind
of your nail,
the stinging smell,
the slow peel
going to seed.

poem by the funderful Katie Schmid, selected for Meridian’s Best New Poets of 2009 anthology. In her second year at the UW MFA, Katie hails from Chicago with an undergraduate degree from Millikin University.  She is Poetry Editor of The Dirty Napkin, and a beautiful person inside&out. If you see her on the street yell, “KATIECAKESBITCHSHIT!”… she just might answer.

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