Saturday, May 13, 2017


Hardhat Splat

Enjoying the room?
What’s the echo, the boom?
Complimentary champagne?
Pink, the color of my brain.

Pay your bill, yes, but pay no heed
to those small shadows of hemoglobin
seeping from steel and concrete bones
while you sleep in this tower of gilt
I (and others) built.

Boss tells me to hurry up the ladder
hurry unsnap the safety harness get up there
time is money says Owner to Boss
time is money says Boss to me
as into a wooden form, concrete we pour.
As form collapses, 42nd floor.

Spatter and spray, that’s me.
Boss pays the fine for safety violation.
More than I got.
Owner pays nada. Nada for the fine,
nada to Boss, nada to workers, stiffs them
so just as well I vanished when I did
except as smudge taking shape
like clouds on the wall,
donkey one night, elephant the next.
Sometimes people enjoy like a game
naming my blotch, my brain.

Here comes Owner to spend the night,
Secret Service wraps him tight.
Through his wall
while he sleeps,
my stain creeps.

--Joe Cottonwood

First published in Rat’s Ass Review: Such an Ugly Time

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