• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 12
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Worth our weight in work

They used to make them blow their noses
to capture valuable breathed in gold dust.
Here they weigh your bag and check for
contraband as you head for the open gate.

Pain leaches out with every step into green.
I’d like not to return but that’s unrealistic
so I park the thought, feel the weight lift,
find the rhythm of my skin-deep tango.

An hour in and I’m weightless as leaves,
sweat wicking, clothing clinging to me,
bathing the weariness away with every
choreographed step of my dance home.

Here in the foothills the thin air is cooler.
The house breathes a fine welcoming fire,
bread is rising, food is lustrous in the pot.
We eat. We talk. We fold into rough blankets.

The return comes, inevitable as brightening
sky and the blue of day. And so it begins,
the climbing down towards the draw of damp,
the flick of leaves on legs, the crunch of boots.

I throw my bag up to catch strap on cruel hook.
The weight is noted, quick look inside to check.
The line of us diminishes along the narrow path.
Work ages us from fine filaments to ragged string.