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Sweeping changes

at fifteen, I think,
friend said “I hear you got a job”
“whaddya do?”
“I sweep”, I said,
and Buddy laughed his donkey laugh.
I felt a little small.
“You’ll be climbin’ the ladder real quick, har har!”
But, self taught I was,
minimal supervision. Wounded pride and all.

At thirty,
sweeping changes came to my life.
I now wore ten hats,
took home a briefcase full of work some nights.
Guess I had climbed the ladder a bit.
Still I swept.
When deadlines hung over us,
we worked until the bell, and after.
I sent the guys home,
and I swept.

I had a boss
who had big responsibilities,
for our plant and for others.
He came out back once,
saw some of our guys sweeping,
grabbed one of their brooms,
showed them the correct way,
embarrassed everyone, including himself.
Yelling, waving his arms.
As fate would have it,
our company president witnessed the show,
made as if he didn’t see it.
After that, Captain Queeg was sacked.

The worst thing I ever swept up
was a cocoon of dead kittens,
all stiff,
born in a pile of skids.
Thrown onto the floor.

And now, today, I sweep the back hallway,
where my own kittens do their business.
Finally I have learned to use the knees,
not the back.
Trouble is, the knees are going.
Soon now, soon, I will have to hand over the broom to another.
Maybe sweeping will change them, too.

Lee Dunn View All

Lee Dunn has been writing since the age of 18, but found that work got in the way for the ensuing 48 years. In his home town of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, he reveled in his independence at an early age, and spent as much time as he could exploring the city’s Arts scene. He was introduced to poetry and prose by the works of two literary giants, namely J.R.R. Tolkien and J.W. Lennon and thence fell in love with the written word. His work includes poetry, short fiction, and personal essays, and ranges in theme from the surreal to the horrific, nostalgic, and themes on the human condition. He has been published on Spillwords.com, The Dark Poets Club, Journal of Undiscovered Poets, Crepe & Penn Literary magazine, and the Shelburne Free Press.

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