The Downeaster Alexa

Our great uncles had scraped knuckles and loved
living in a time and place where each complaint
was accompanied by a plate of well earned protein.
If they could see us today they’d whoop and holler
at the lack of dust and clay we breathe
to earn and boil and burn that plate.

Our aunts were disciplinarians who taught reading
to children so they could grow, for a few years,
in fairytales where common folk were heroes.
If she could see us now in down coats and once
worn boots she’d grin, knowing those lessons
gave us a life of play, and how long we’d live.

For Halloween Cole’s a pumpkin. At Christmas
he’s awash in presents. He has loved-ones
in every state. In the schools now they teach
invention, hoping one day he’ll hue out a way
to raise those still in the mines, on the plows,
and in factories, to hasten our crawl from the sea.

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