Day Labor

Every Saturday when I come to work
my dirty windows look out on the street
where very short men wait for jobs
to offer themselves up.
At eight in the morning they are standing
on the sidewalk, their bicycles
Huffy and Mongoose
chained to a speed limit sign.
They wear baseball caps
and have silver-capped
front teeth.
By ten they are sitting in a line.
On the narrow sidewalk, they wait.
When their jobs drive up in late model trucks
the scramble begins--
knocking on windows, whistling,
and fingers in the air.
Only one or two will get it
out of the fifteen men who do this every morning.
The rest disperse.
The hot coffee burns my tongue.

:: Ileanna Portillo, in Work

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