Boxcars in Florida

Just seventeen, cockstrong,
Ready for anything, or so I thought.
’Til my aunt’s boyfriend hired me to
Unload Florida boxcars.
I never knew, could never forget,
The longest days of my life,
The cruelest exhaustion in the world,
Collapsing in bed, barely able to
Stay awake through supper, while
That fat, middle-aged, cigar-smoking
Sicilian outworked me all day,
And danced all night.

—Harlan Richards, Oregon,WI