my thumb and finger is John Cage playing a chance operation. I've
learned to quiet the violin and listen with intention. My mother, the
girl, is bleeding from the procedure. Beneath the nail, she is a dead
singer. The audience looks on, politely squirming. My mother's job
was to screw or glue: smokers' toothpaste, lampshades, plastic cubes.
All the women stand side by side, like Norma Rae or public television.
The conveyor belt determines their form; their wing jokes, organic.
Monotony is not a monopoly: learn to be bored, people—whether its
assembly work or the avant-garde. The workers' wrists are weary from
tightening caps or turning pages—see them all pack up products that go
off into the world. Some make it to landfills, others to universities!
by Rosa Alcalá
published in Action Yes Quarterly