The FactoryFiona D'Silva
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About this poem:

It's interesting the things that stand out to children; the things that sear into their lifelong memories. This poem is about the factory my mother worked at that I sometimes had to be at as a 8-9 yo child. The things that struck me back then - the fish faces in the wire cages on the forklift, the hot tempers of the migrant workers, the industrial grime. And the office - quiet, clean. 

The Factory.

 

Iridescent rainbows glow in the engine oil 

spilled on the concrete floor. Scales of large fish

 sparkle silver and blue behind a pressing grid of wired cages. 

Their eyes stay open to the dusty, gray walls and pipes,

mouths poised oh! at the passing tubs of fish guts.

In my mother’s office I collect the confetti of white telex 

machine perforations. Some sprinkle from my hands to lay 

bright against the ocean green swirls in the waxed linoleum. 

A man stabs another man with a filleting knife

in the filleting room. 

My mother tells me albacore is the new chicken of the sea. 

Sometimes we would leave 

when the factory women were finishing. 

They wore white coats like doctors

with bloodied plastic aprons and 

white rubber boots,

laughing, gesturing -

now they can leave this place.

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