Working on the night shift by Casey Killingsworth

post office
Working on the night shift
When you retire from your work you look
back on the jobs you did as if they were
nothing but stories. When the Easterns
said there is no past, that’s what they meant:
other than the pain that’s in your bones right
now, the here and now, everything else is just
words you distribute to your younger friends.
Anyway, I did the math the other day and
figured out I spent a third of my working
years on the midnight shift, working while
you slept, trying to be quiet so I didn’t
wake you, missing the sun. Every time you
woke to pee or get a glass of water I was
watering a golf course or sending trucks
out from some post office dock, and on
your way to work I was on my first beer.
I did the math and figured out I’m not
tired anymore, at least not the tired that
comes from fighting for the chance to
dream, or from envying sleep like it’s my
neighbor’s big house. I can go to sleep
whenever I want now, and sometimes
I just want to sleep forever
Casey Killingsworth has been published in The American Journal of Poetry, Kimera, Spindrift, Rain, Slightly West, Timberline Review, COG, Common Ground Review, Typehouse, Bangalore Review, Two Thirds North, and other journals. His book of poems, A Handbook for Water, was published by Cranberry Press in 1995. As well he has a book on the poetry of Langston Hughes, The Black and Blue Collar Blues (VDM, 2008). He has a Master’s degree from Reed College.

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