“Teamsters in the Flock Beside the Lake” by T.R. Poulson

T.R. Poulson


And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men
—Mark 6:44

Loaves pile up unleavened before the windburnt throng
as Jesus’ groupies count lake trout, and math seems wrong.
Dead fish multiply, and on the shore a multitude surrounds
them. Disciples fistbump pharisees. No sunscreen, wrong
sandals untied in dust. I ask a man who looks like Jesus
for another loaf, and butter. Your union team is wrong,
he says, to crave one more fillet when some have none.
You don’t need sugar, cherries, cream. It’s wrong
to strike a company whose boss eats lobster goldfried
rare. Another Jesus-man pats my hand. You dream wrong
dreams. To eat and sleep and work should be enough. I say
I crave more, but I’m not a greedy fucker. Scales gleam wrong
in cloudlight. Mahi mahi, broken. Among whitecaps, a ship
bears spice-swirled loaves wrapped in satin. Sails lean wrong
in windfall. Jesus says my name wrong. Makes tea instead
of wine. Beyond the water, grass grows greener, but wrong.

from Poets Respond


T.R. Poulson: “I am a UPS Teamster. This poem is in response to the contract negotiations and tentative agreement. I wrote it while imagining the talks had broken down and led to the largest strike against a single employer in U. S. history.” (web)

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