Working

The yellow paint is chipped and worn and obscured by earth
The mechanical claw
delicately grasps a ten foot
twig of concrete
like a Virginia Slim
and places it
with care
away from itself
on the other side of the fence
onto the blockaded sidewalk
near the migrant workers
smoking cigarettes
and laughing in Spanish
 
The man inside the cage
is the brain of the thing
grappling long cold plastic-topped handles
and working this
hydraulic muscled dinosaur
into action
rutting around in the tacky earth
thinking about that first taste
the bitter sting
hops and bubbles
a release from the week
into the embrace of relax
 
There’s the smells
that satisfying scent of gasoline
sweetening the air
burnt tobacco and paper
the occasional whiff
of marijuana
evocative of other days
inside days spent
smiling too much
and winter approaching
that near absence of smell
so much that it has a smell
like silence so loud
 
Friday
It can be felt in the air
the relative calm
like the world won’t end
after all
at least not until the weekend’s end
The random person
will smile nine times
out of ten
on a Friday
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