Construction workers
Heads wrapped in dirty rags
Squat on dusty concrete
Barricades that centre
The highways
Waiting, breaking, under the
Increasingly persistent sun
For a small break
In the seemingly ceaseless
Traffic flow

Stoic and diligent
Building a world
They will eventually be
Excluded from upon completion
Which doesn’t look like
It’ll happen anytime soon
Which is in a way good for them
And their families
Back home on the
Lonely receiving end of all this
Tormented toil

From beneath their light
Loosely fitted, soiled clothes
They glare at men
Entering air-conditioned offices
With fridges and water coolers
Inexplicably decked out in
Garish ties and smart
Dark woollen suits

While they may understand
Why their employers
Neighbours and countrymen
Now converse in
The language of a
Small, cold European nation
I’m sure they don’t understand
The fascination
With the fashion

There’s yet another traffic jam ahead
Possibly caused by still more
Construction workers
But it allows these ones to
Weave through these small
Portable weather systems
All set to arctic gale
Keeping the inhabitants
Suitably frozen
And they’re back to the night and day
Pneumatic, hydraulic, nightmare
Accompanied now and then by this
Stubbornly unhelpful breeze

One guy pauses as he
Crosses a few feet away
And stares into this false frost
With eyes that look colder
Than any day he’s ever known
But it’s a look I know
Can be turned in seconds by a
Smile and a nod of recognition
Into a joyful, humble, hello
His face is strained and streaked and wet
And, I don’t know, is he crying?
Or is it just sweat?

August 2008 Derek Wilson

~ by Derek Wilson on April 5, 2009.

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