The news

Filtered down

From Minneapolis


Across the lakes

To us working the docks

Along the oily Buffalo River


The message

The Superior Grain Elevator

Was closing within the next few weeks


The crew us

Would be out of work

While the millwrights would close the mill


The Peavey Company

Owner of the Superior Elevator

Cancelled inbound but not outbound grain shipments


Two weeks later

After all that could be stolen was

The super had our final checks for distribution


Before the distribution

Four young men veterans and felons

Set out to clean railroad tracks never to be used


Picks and shovels

Across their backs

They randomly stopped


For no apparent reason

They banged and clanged

And grunted on cue


Shirtless and ratproof

Our jeans tied tight

over our boot tops


we killed time

in the hot sun

until it was old


the vet and felon

stripped off their clothes

boots socks and hats remaining in place


they said goodbye to us

smiled and shook hands

wishing us luck knowing we wouldn’t strip

They strode majestically

Back up the track heads

Held high pirouetting


For the super

Lily white asses



Brightly in summer

Light fine bone

China exquisitely absurd


I remember

Their smiles

They were perfect.