The Bum

Your great grandad took the bus up Route 23 to Detroit. It gasped and moaned the whole way up and stunk worse than hell. The cotton balls had turned rotten and the ol’ shack, too. They told him Ford’s is hiring, so off he went.

Young, wild, and free, he turned that bolt. He turned it again and again and again, until he’d turned it enough and they sent them all home. Sometimes weeks or months at a time, until the bolt needed turning again.

Those broad shoulders, machine-like, went back to work, went to twisting, tightening, and stretching. Detroit steel, putting the world on wheels. God bless all that sweat, like the morning dew back home.

He died, age 55, a penny to his name. He was that big Packard plant – the walls, the grease, and the hum.  Glassy-eyed under the thin film of the Milky Way, back where he used to turn that bolt again and again and again, so are you.


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