The factory closed yesterday.
The gate hung heavy with chain.
The metal mouths no longer exhaling smoke.
The children no longer singing
songs about cyanide and Manager Bill.
The morning came and no thermoses were filled
with thick black coffee. No wives
paired bologna and cheddar. No husbands
slid their swollen feet into waiting boots,
brushed their teeth with baking soda and spat.
The clipboards were checked and re-checked, red penned, rubber
cigarettes dangled lazily from jutted lower lips.
Under the washed sun, vials of water
were taken, slides of rust and of the green
that crept into the underbelly of
Quadrant 4B. There was dust everywhere.
The timecards rest in the pockets of un-ironed shirts,
manila dog-eared dirty. The grizzled men
sit at speckled counters on spinning stools
sopping up the yolks.
Tomorrow, the newspaper will say the factory was dumping
its refuse into the local well. That the cows
aren’t walking straight.
The farmers don’t know what to do
sitting on their porches with Jim Beam,
holding their rifles in one hand and their heads in the other.
There are For Sale signs everywhere.
There are empty kitchens everywhere.
There is an empty factory just passed Old Frampton’s place.
And all we hear from down that road is a faint ticking
like a cooling engine or a hollow heart.