Maxwell Bodenheim Poems : Track-Workers

The rails you carry cut into your hands,
Like the sharp lips of an unsought lover.
As you stumble over the ties
Sunlight is clinging, yellow spit
Raining down upon your faces.
You are the living cuspidors of day.
Dirt, its teasing ghost, dust,
And passionless kicks of steel, fill you.
Flowers sprouting near the tracks,
Brush their lightly odoured hands
In vain against your stale jackets of sweat.
Within you, minds and hearts
Are snoring to the curt rhythm of your breath.
You do not see this blustering blackbird
Promenading on a barbed-wire fence.
He eyes you with spritelike hauteur,
Unable to understand
Why your motions endlessly copy each other.
One of you, a meek and burly Pole,
Peers a moment at the strutting blackbird
With a fleeting shade of dull resentment. . . .
There is always one among you
Who recoils from glimpsing corpses.

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Saturday, May 14, 2011 - 14:18

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Maxwell Bodenheim

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