Poem: Men at the Gates

By Gary L. Lark
Volume 18, Number 1 (Fall 2007)
Issue theme: "The future of an unsustainable planet"

They wait at the gates

in flannel shirts and heavy denim pants.

They wait for the gates to open,

the whistle to blow

signaling change of shift.

They wait for the mill jobs

to come back, with wages

that will feed a family,

wages to be proud of.

They wait in the parking lot

where one-stop shoppers

now, twenty-five years later,

look through them like ghosts.

They wait in a rain

of gadgets and plunder,

companies from somewhere else

picking their pockets

trying to sell them everything

they don’t need at bargain prices.

They wait for the world

to make sense again,

where calluses grow on your hands

and the soreness in your back

means you’re worth a damn.


From Writers’ Almanac, Friday, October 12, 2007

Poem: “Men at the Gates” by Gary L. Lark, from Men at the Gates.

© Finishing Line Press, 2007. Reprinted with permission.