Migrant factory worker's story

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Overalls

For twenty-seven years she wore them. The factory
thrust its bloody quota past her six days a week,
and she did what she had to. The gloves and boots
and heavy denim became first and last lines of defence.
She lost a thumb once, then a fingertip a year later.

Language didn't come into it. She got sick and sacked


in the same fortnight, then lay doggo for a decade.
When the bewildered husband finally gave out, she hid
behind her embarrassed teenagers until, at last,
they went too. She appeared in language classes

where she made friends easily; one in particular.
They married. She persevered with speaking
and listening, wrote when needed, didn't read.
Today, she finds a picture on a vocabulary sheet
and tells the class all this. She's lucky, she says.

Frank Abel

 

Interval

As Stephen Boros told me
when I was settled in his office,
the world doesn't stop
for Stephen Boros,
yet as he mildly peddled
a plan for superannuation
I felt a soft suspension
or an idling of the clock.
A photograph in silver gilt
conspired to inspire admiration
of the Boros family life:
two tots anyone
would be a sucker for,
an adolescent wife pouting
and in slanting, smoky sunlight —
a claw of golden proteas
glowing in a pot. So who in
all the world could say
that the world had never stopped
for Stephen Boros?

Ross Jackson

 

hospice

your hand
in her

hand, some
fluttering wilderness

behind her
eyes that you

can't walk
through

& we talk
about a visit

& a goodbye
from the gaps

of years
& circumstance

because of a past
& this present

this time
the way things are

Rory Harris


Frank Abel headshotFrank Abel lives in Hobart, and has previously taught English (ESL).


 

Ross Jackson headshot

Ross Jackson is a retired schoolteacher from Perth. He has had poetry and short stories published locally and interstate.


 

Rory Harris headshotRory Harris is a poet and teacher. His poetry collections include Over the Outrow, From the Residence, Snapshots From a Moving Train, 16 poems, and Uncle Jack and Other Poems.

Meat image from Shutterstock

Topic tags: Frank Abel, Rory Harris, Ross Jackson, poetry

 

 

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Existing comments

"So who in all the world could say that the world had never stopped for Stephen Boros?" Three fine poems from three teachers, thanks!
Pam | 06 August 2013


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