Once a month for decades
he brought home the Catholic Worker
folded gently and laid it on kitchen table,
where it would be picked up, read,
folded, and laid back again.
A fabric in their lives,
like the Catholic missals
she kept in rubber bands
folded in her dresser drawer.
He spoke little of the mill,
except of friends, left it
at the mill gate where others
might stop in bars to drink
their bitterness away.
Their children are taught by Catholic sisters
of Charity, Franciscans who share
Christ’s preference for the poor by
having them bring cans of food each month,
and at some secret signal near recess
gently bowl them forward on the wooden floor—
twenty cans of green beans, corn, tomato sauce
reaching the blackboard with sweet laughter,
as the Sister feigns surprise, then bends
to gather them up, and they all
bow their heads in thanks.
About the Author: Larry Smith is a poet, fiction writer, and editor-publisher of Bottom Dog Press in Ohio where they feature a Working Lives and an Appalachian Writing Series. He is also the biographer of Kenneth Patchen and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. He lives in Huron, Ohio, along the shores of Lake Erie.
More By Larry Smith:
Image Credit: Lewis W. Hine “Furniture Factory Worker or Printer?” (1930s) Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.