UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

On-the-Job Training by Jodi Barnes

It used to be good here, Myrna says,
time-and-a-half, double holidays.

It's my first week, so I nod my head,
hoping to make rent, see my kids again.

Myrna says her kids came from the same

didn't-ever-want-to-see-his-kids --
now he's in the ground.

And she looks at me like I could be him
so I smile and tell her I just fell hard
on hard-luck times. That I want to
help their mama with bills

but a man can only do so much.
You can't bleed a turnip,
she says and I agree. Then Myrna turns on me:
But you can dig a hole, throw in the seed.

She rolls her sleeves, grabs two brooms.
I barely have a handle as she sweeps circles around me.

Straight time and toting dirt, she says,
better than waiting for a root to bleed.