Once, at the end of his shift,
he came out
and in the first slant light
the parking lot glittered
like the one time he’d seen the sea.
The machines still roared in his-ears.
There’d been no breakdowns the whole night.
His sandwich in its brown bag
had warmed and the cheese melted a little.
He had eaten around midnight.
For some reason that night
the aisles between the looms,
had seemed church-like
and his shift-mates like ushers
taking up the collection.
And now the morning sun
sprang off the asphalt
and he had the morning to putter
and then the afternoon to sleep.
People were leaving the parking lot,
breaking up the group slowly,
the way you do at the end of a service.
Reprinted with permission from Living Wages (Tupelo Press, 2014). Copyright 2014 by Michael Chitwood.