The Unwearing: A Benediction

Then, at last, when machines shut down,
the crank and clatter of their work
quiet at this long shift's end,
when the bobbins are empty,

whistles have stopped blowing,
freight has been loaded on its beds
and is gone, when sore backs
and burly afternoons behind

concrete walls have gone,
when all the plants
have closed their doors,
there will be nothing left

but the spinning earth,
its tight weave of water and root,
soft fabric of morning,
each imperfection counted one

by one, nothing left but the world's
rhythm, the manufacture of its seasons,
nothing but the voices of our ancestors
talking above the roar,

and then we will take off the cloth
and there will be only thread
and then not even thread
or the need for thread

and we will bless each day's creation,
the sweat and rip that wove it,
the oily grace that gave it to us,
how it feels against our skin.

:: Barbara Presnell, Piece Work (Cleveland State University Press, 2007)

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