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Saturday, November 30, 2013


by Ed Werstein

USDA plan to speed up poultry-processing lines could increase risk of bird abuse:
Nearly 1 million chickens and turkeys are unintentionally boiled alive each year in U.S. slaughterhouses, often because fast-moving lines fail to kill the birds before they are dropped into scalding water, Agriculture Department records show.
-- Washington Post, October 30, 2013

Today, folding clothes
I thought, for the first time
about where lint comes from.

Mom didn’t have a clothes dryer.

Every Monday with wet rag
she wiped the farm dust
and bird shit from metal wires
and let the wind and sun
do their work.

And when weather didn’t permit

out came the wooden racks
and the furnace did double duty
drying denim.

But here I stand again
like every week
with a handful of lint.

How many sweaters, sheets
and socks picked thin in forty years?

Not only Hotpoint and Maytag benefit
from clothes dryer sales.

And when someone says something
tastes like chicken,
what do they mean
when chicken doesn’t
taste like chicken anymore?

Convenience has a price:
thin clothes
bland food
traffic jams
water faucets you can light on fire

If you doubt the last one
you can Google it.

Ed Werstein, Milwaukee, WI, spent 22 years in manufacturing and union activity before his muse awoke and dragged herself out of bed. His sympathies lie with poor and working people. He advocates for peace and against corporate power. His poetry has appeared in Verse Wisconsin, Blue Collar Review, Stoneboat, Mobius: the Journal of Social Change, Stoneboat.