Night Shift: Fruit Cocktail

By Susan Kinsolving

Boiled until they slipped their skins,
the peaches slid down, then rolled
along the conveyor belt to the splitter

and on to me, una gringa loca, a pitter.
I grabbed, gouged, grabbed again. Hot
wafts of syrup made skin sticky, gluing

hair nets to hair, but unable to seal
earplugs from the din of six hundred
thousand jerking cans of tin. Truckloads

of green grapes tumbled through shoots
as cherries churned in vats of gruesome
dye. We women all wore white and stood

on the wet floor for eight hours or more,
ankles swelling over our orthopedic
shoes. Still, after decades of a better

life, I miss that moment when the dawn shafts
pierced steam, when a certain slant of light
gave drudgery such a celestial gleam.

This Poem Features In:

Browse Collections By Category

Select from our entire catalogue of poetry collections: