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Hard Work

There were thousands
of production workers at Ford
and some rough guys in the mix
who fought in
World War II
guys who served time in prison
guys who were about to go back in
but everyone was afraid
of a skinny guy
who drove a Towmotor
back and forth between the foundry
and the engine-assembly plants next door
delivering engine blocks
he was not someone to mess with
thin as rail
hard as climbing cord
he was what's left after iron burns
that's what had everyone spooked
he didn't need food or drink
he didn't take breaks
his hair was greased back
a cigarette stuck to his lip
a knife in his pocket
he had no friends
no one knew anything about him
if his childhood was tough
if he took piano lessons
if he liked peanut butter
he told his foreman
he came to Cleveland from West Virginia
because coal mining was too easy
and in the Bible God says hard work is a man's job
and that's how he would be judged

John Stupp

The Greensboro Review

Spring 2017

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