Greasy smoke from the stack
at the mill, rusty chainlink.
Sidewalks broken. Gates Guards.
And whenever I pedaled by,
I'd spit my wad of baseball gum
at the streaked and cob-webbed office windows.
In the log yards and saw sheds,
fathers bartered themselves
then banged home drunk nights
so afraid of worthlessness
they'd smash windows,
Not my father.
He was a union man, elected
at the company picnic
when called on to break apart
of his brawling, beer-bellied brethren.
And I'd hold my gut
at the sideline, knowing my dad
inevitably took his blows.
He maybe wanted to teach his son
some way other than cut lips,
He lived and died in that mill.
And never hit no one
hard as most deserved it.