And so the workers went to work …
and some went early
to a West, Texas fertilizer plant
and some went later
to a Savar, Bangladesh garment factory,
and some went only yesterday
to their jobs at the poultry plant
in Mishazi, Jilin Province, China.
They are laborers in our vineyards,
not soldiers, not fire fighters,
not police officers,
their work is hard not hazardous,
and they join others,
who work for long, long hours
or not enough hours,
(scorching heat or idle in the marketplace).
They work for low pay under fragile ceilings,
too many in one room,
too young, too tired,
in places that don’t pass inspection.
They assume the doors aren’t locked
and they believe it when the boss says
there’s no risk of explosion.
The first last and the last first,
they all stand, those who died this spring —
looking at me in my magenta blouse,
you with your chicken wings —
waiting for their wages at the end of the day
waiting for God’s generosity
paid in our willingness to demand
the price of things
be never counted out in danger.