The Line

The whole line halts like a tire
spinning in the snow. Someone
couldn’t let go and had their hand
chewed up by gears in a moment
made of thoughtless ambiguity.
Over twenty years doing the exact
same thing and now with one mistake
he was as useless as the meat in the machine.

There was always something in between
what he watched and what the world
would let him see. Flashes of worms
writhing in the soil of his mother’s
garden, and another component
carried along the ragged belt.

His cards were dealt to him across
the plastic table by his daughter
who sat on the side of his bed.
It wouldn’t leave his head,
how it felt to have a part of him
eaten by the creature that he cared for
since the day he left his hopes
all in the past.

Every evening she walked him out
to the sidewalk and lit a cigarette for him.
The sun would always be going down
and she would tell him she was sorry
this was happening. He’d laugh and
say he was sorry too and the two of
them would count the planes
that flew so high you couldn’t tell
what they were made of.

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