“Corrosion”

It claimed a padlock yesterday, withered in my hand. In Denny Brovsky’s Ford this morning,
my foot pushed through the cab.
A coat of paint slows the spread; I’ll surely lose my fence. Anna sliced both legs on the
porch rail’s ragged edge.
With every rain stains like fat-bottomed girls edge down the factory walls. Gravity, the only
act of God seen in a mill town.
 
They sold stainless steel visions down on the docks—a promise per page boy hat—divided us
rats from the Balkans, half to Carnegie, half to Schwab.
 
Nightshift forged the modern Navy, one turret at a time. Dayshift bound this land to your
land with a ladder of railroad ties.
But then, the Empire’s glowing I-beam thrust into our ribs. We gathered in tin lean-tos
like flocks of iron pigs.
Rain, the color smokestacks cough, rolled off our oven-baked skin. It ran to the shiny Lehigh,
where even Baptists would not swim.
 
Now these powdered dreams dust my dungarees, keep washing from my hair. But the red
imprint of chain link is stubborn on my hands.

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D.E. Kern is an author and educator from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. In 2011, he earned an MFA from San Jose State University. His poems have appeared in Mission at Tenth, Reed Magazine and online in Hypothetical: A Review of Everything Imaginable. He recently finished a novel examining the relationship between baseball and the American Civil War.

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