Road Work


She’s leaking hydraulic, he says
and lowers the blade of his D8 dozer
to the ground and shuts it down

The smell of newly exposed
forest soil mixes
with diesel exhaust

Robins drop from the trees
to feast on the sudden
bloom of nightcrawlers

There is a boulder in the road bed
he needs to dynamite anyway
He can replace the broken hose later

As he jumps down from the dozer
the glint of an impossibly blue egg shell
by a salal bush at the edge of the cut bank

He drills an eighteen inch hole
in the boulder and gently packs the hole
with a full stick & back fills with gravel

He runs the wires
two hundred feet back
Yells for everyone to stay clear

Fire in the hole!
He touches the wires
to an old truck battery

When the deep thud hits his chest
he stands still, looking straight up for falling rocks
every other time but this one

This time he forgot
For no fucking reason
he just forgot

6 responses to “Road Work

  1. There’s a place for more poems about people at work: it is such an important part of being human (my own book was on this theme) and there is emotion to be found, and essential questions about who we are and how we love. I like this poem of yours very much Burl – I think you’ve really done justice to your subject, showing us a man engaged in a serious activity, reacting to a problem, weighing things up – making a mistake. So very human! Caught in a few accurate lines of verse!

    Liked by 1 person

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