ARDOR Literary Magazine

ARDOR Literary Magazine - Issue Two, May 2013

Issue One, Published January 2013

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Page 50 of 55

BENNIES A Prose Poem By DIANE SOLIS "We're in the money," he hummed when he got the union job milling birch rails, walnut panels, purple heart and red oak moldings for millionaire mantels. He taught his sons by example, rarely missing work. Though there was that half-day once, after one of the knives broke. A chunk of steel flew out of his machine, pinging like a round before ricocheting into his meaty breast, dropping him to his knees. When he went to the office to tape it up, the foreman saw all the blood and said, "Better let the doc see that." "I don't have time. I'm in the middle of a run." But the foreman made him go. They cleaned him up and started stitching. Then the needle hit something hard and metallic. In his beefy chest, against the sternum they found an inch-long, quarter-inch-thick hunk of the broken blade, and sent him home with it. His sons named it the bullet and put it on a key-chain, for good luck. The next day he went back to finish his run. A year or two later, when two guys ambushed him outside the bar, smashing a kidney and busting his ribs, leaving him on the sidewalk with boot prints, even the nail-marks, kicked into his breast and side, he took no time off at all. In the old days, before he had kids, he never would have let anyone stomp him like that. "My own stupid fault," he told his sons, wincing when he coughed, and wearing the brace to work. "When you have a family, if you're lucky enough to get a union job, you hold onto it. There are good benefits. But you also have some great disadvantages." [END]

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