Class of '77

A decade since I last saw
my college best buddy,
Chuck, mechanical engineer
and doper who graduated
to building nuclear reactors
in Southwestern badlands.
We were smoking in his truck--
I was passing through town--
when I asked how was work,
so he spun the steering wheel
to show off the site, drove
the fifty miles of Utah
nowhere backcountry blacktop
past canyon after canyon
to the spot where monoliths
rose as mutant cauliflowers
and parsnips, where the hardhat
and lunchpail begot super-uranium
and heat, where we listened
in stupendously crucial silence
to an old Grateful Dead tape
until Chuck said: My job, pal.

:: Ken Waldman, in Bordlerlands: Texas Poetry Review #6 (1995)

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