Rusty Barnes: “The Act of Working”



The Act of Working

The act of working occupied 
my father like an obsession,

a crushing sixty hours a week,
running a loader over and over

again into heaps of gravel
and sand, piling dump trucks

full and sending them out into
the world. Rock he loaded built

prisons and roads all over 
the states of NY and PA

but he came home every night
dirty and so exhausted he’d

eat then fall asleep, cigarette
still in his fingers and  I write

this poem over and over,
seeing my father lie there,

hoping somehow this poem,
this time, will end differently.


About the Author: Rusty Barnes lives in Revere MA with his family. His poems appear widely, in Plumb, Heavy Feather Review, and Black Coffee Review, most recently. His latest chapbook, Apocalypse in A-Minor, is out from Analog Submission Press.


Image Credit: Lewis Hine “Factory Worker” (1931) Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.

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