Losing them, fixing them, forgetting to put them in
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Right there, in the raw weather,
their fresh wood darkened,
they are like construction workers at the side of the winter road.
Do you see them holding up the flapping shirts nearing December,
the dress socks and the white athletic socks
on the wind-sagged wire? All day they must stand
with their legs nearly crossed, tense from the inner spring.
They are like farmers dredging ditches in the frozen field,
like welders fusing metal in wind nearly zero.
All day they work in the backyard,
even when the clothes are gone,
and no one coming back for weeks
with flannel shirts, a robe, and underwear.
They pinch down, their eyes squinted shut,
their shoulders stiff —
Robert P. Cooke