The Fox Chase Review

Jim Daniels

   
   

The St. Vitus Dance of the Factory Floor

When thrown into the den of a hungry lion, the beast merely licked Vitus affectionately.
…Some 16th century Germans believed they could obtain a year's good health by
dancing before the statue of Saint Vitus on his feast day.

Ed in Dept. 53 painted gold foot-
prints on the factory floor
around his machine—like dance steps:
a pattern to keep him clean
while welding brake-line clips
onto axle housings.

He wore button-down shirts,
slacks, and the steel-
toed dress shoes of management.
Midnights—the foreman cared not.
Spotless Ed, poster boy
for Good Attitude
though it earned him
no more money
and less good will.

Why did we paint those foot-
prints black one night
when he wasn’t there?
We cupped our hands
around the dark candle
of cruelty in the dank swirl
the sharp steel clamor.

The next day, we punched in
early to watch his wax face
melt into the numb stare
of the rest of us.

Jim Daniels’ recent books include Having a Little Talk with Capital P Poetry, Carnegie Mellon University Press, All of the Above, Adastra Press, and Trigger Man, short fiction, Michigan State University Press, all published in 2011.  Birth Marks, BOA Editions, will appear in 2013.

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