Tuesday Poem

Morning at Speed Products

The operators stood around the cold shop
and coughed at dirty morning jokes about
the mysteries of family life behind
them and the certainty of work ahead.
Then, when the bell rang, they each resolved,
"No man should work, but be,"
and went to put their wrists inside
the safety handcuffs of machines.
Each man was doing life in dreams
for wages, some shit's profits, and his own
payment on his dreamed family plan.

Alan Dugan
from New and Collected Poems
Ecco Press, 1983