Influencing Factors Poem

Influencing Factors Poem By Karen Helfrich

I am dating a woman whose brother is a Trotskyite.
I was dating a woman with an angel tattoo anchoring her back
to the sky but she dropped me. Or, rather, she drifted.
Alone, I started skipping meals;
I read myself into the work of Simone Weil,
thin and plagued with headaches.
(I was in there among the others operating a line
of future, repackaging the past. We stamped the bags
with the wrong date code; we sent them on anyway.)
I remember the headaches I used to get
when I worked midnights in a factory.
Two workers had died there fifteen years before
I dusted the ledges and swept the floors. Some nights
I thought I felt them in the sifting room
gently pushing me forward in circles.
I went on break early, taking aspirin with my coffee.

I am dating a woman whose brother is a Trotskyite.
When I try to imagine a worldwide revolution of proletariats
I can’t get past the clockout room, the guys jostling,
punching each others’ arms, telling jokes
before the click of the hour.
I was dating a woman with an angel tattoo anchoring her back
to the sky but she dropped me. Or, rather, she drifted.
Factory angels don’t wear white
or embarrass the working class with trumpets.
They sneak in, looking over your shoulder,
while you go through the motions.,
Then they wander off, sadly shaking their golden heads.

Influencing Factors Poem

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