Thursday, January 19, 2012

Reading Braille

Reading Braille

It took me longer than the others, my
coworkers, to learn to read the serrated
subtext that formed the real contours of

my job.  It looked simple enough, a wash
cycle of tasks on a dial that, when
performed in the proper order, with

enough heart, would yield a tidy load
rinsed clean of the stains on the knees of
those driven into the dirt by fate, me

smelling like roses, bearing the weight
of my brothers, sins scrubbed, pure.  That, and it
paid steady if not very much.  My boss

was a profane Brit, a little keg
of a man, chain smoking, hair flying,
eternally proud of The One Shot, one

meaningless leaf of innovation on
one tiny branch on one spindly tree
in a forest denuded of trees.  His

only advice to me as I set sail
on my first case was to confide that
the man I was to see was a “fucking

malingering nigger”, driving the nail
home with one fat, stained index finger,
a miracle of concision, his

expectations laid bare while I nodded
in (disbelief, disgust, assent?), my first
lesson, a blind man learning to read braille.

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