Summer Job


At the end of the work day

you could tell exactly how far you had gotten

and how much farther there was to go.

Of course, it was just a ditch for a pipeline

to carry the reeking slop

that a neighborhood of toilets

would slosh together to be drained away

but it was clean, the trench,

the slick walls the backhoe bucket cut

and the precise grade of the bottom.

My job was to sight the transit.

I gave a thumbs up or thumbs down

or the OK sign if the pitch was right

so that some future day shit would flow

just as it should, down hill,

but you knew where you stood,

what you had done in a day,

and what more there was to do

and every meaningful thing I had said

I had said without a word.



Michael Chitwood (USA, 1958)



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