Invisible Ones

“Ten thousand joys, ten thousand sorrows— which are more beautiful…”

~ Nic S.

During the Great Depression, the countryside
was full of them— stooped over rows of asparagus,
garlic, and strawberries; elbow-deep in scales
and guts as salmon silvered conveyor belts,
carpeted the canning factory floor. Every so often
a hand— maybe a finger— nicked by blades
cutting fast: for industry is virtue and the harvest
of all these great American dreams, warmed by the sun
and striped fat with flavor, must be gleaned.
Pasteurized, purchased, they leap from farm
and river to waiting tables so in iconic paintings,
rosy-cheeked children can bow their heads in prayer
over clean porcelain and heavy silverware,
while their elders pass lakes of mashed potato
and the bronzed carcass of a bird from hand
to hand. In greasy spoon diners and fast
food places across town, look closely
at the face of the lonely busboy wiping down
the oily counter, at the waitress who’s just
learned English, balancing a pot of coffee
and a tray of dirty dishes in her hands.

 

In response to Via Negativa: Unmentionable One.

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