A Worker

His sturdy blue uniform dirty
Grease under his fingers
Callouses on his hand
His hard work and bad back
A given trade
For his Friday pay
Two children and a wife
Waiting at home
Bills to be paid
Children expecting
The things
Other fathers provide
His is a challenge
A triage
Of bills and opportunity
A choice of who to deny
Who will wait
And who demands
A payment
The grind never changes
The kitchen table
Feeding his anxiety
Window letters
In a pile
Second notice
Final notice
All shuffled
Into sleepless nights
The morning clock
Pounds him awake
Too little sleep
The temptation
To bury his head
But he will not shirk
Rising from the bed
Bathing, eating
Putting his feet
In the heavy boots
The laces
Tying him
To forty years
Forty years
Then done
Gone too fast
With little left

Roy Pullam was a teacher for 37 years and is now retired. Read other articles by Roy.