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construction labor

  • Published at 05:24 pm July 15th, 2018
  • Last updated at 07:18 pm July 15th, 2018
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A poem

i saw three the other evening

                         dusk falling like soot

                         work done for the day

each had a shovel in her hand

two had them slung like men do

on their shoulders

dirty worn to the bone saris rust

in the saffron light

                       glass bangles

                       bare feet

                       dark skin

calluses on elbows like ash patches

shadows long on the street


but it was their stride

                       the way they walked

                       that got me caught me

jaunty and lithe bony hipsway

one ankle out one ankle in

on that catwalk road

a tak tak tak cock a hoop

riptide to their steps

a jingle a lilt something that 

said fuck it buddy tools down

                i am done 

                        i am going home

                         light me

                         a doobie girl 

lean back crack

a few wind down

tomorrow’s another day another

taka butt grinding for the man

but right now we three

we calling it quits

                       for the day


                       us three

                       going home

                       wash our tits

                       shush the kids

                       light the stove

                       queue at the pump

                       count the pennies

                       lay out the mat

                       search for the thread

                       cool the fever… 


that fucking work darling 

                       never ends    

                       keeps coming

                      and coming

                      at ya…


till one day they shovel you

                   six feet under

and then you really are done for

                   the friggin’ day


Khademul Islam is editor of the literary journal Bengal Lights.