They had no idea what to do with me
once they'd hired me at Goodyear Aircraft
in Akron. Fifty cents an hour and all
the overtime you ever dreamed of.
I had never dreamed of overtime, but
fifty cents an hour helped to pay for
the '36 Ford I bought to drive to
Goodyear Aircraft hangar where I had no
idea what I was supposed to do
when I punched in in the morning. I watched
a guy run his lathe, watched riggers on
the catwalks high above my head. I walked
from job to job and back again. I was
on the move. One day--why not?--I brought
a book with me. "You can't read in here," I
was told. I walked over to a guy on
the drillpress, watched him bore through two-inch
boiler plate. I watched someone else remove
burrs from a job. I could have been there
forever, moving from job to job, but
they drafted me. As I was getting out
of the army, I was asked what I did
in civilian life. I told them about
Goodyear Aircraft. They looked it up in a
big book. "You were an expediter," they
told me. It's on my discharge papers.
By God, I hope the world hears that. I was
an expediter. Me. And people thought
I wouldn't amount to anything. And here
I am, looking, still looking, expeditiously looking.
© Richard Lee
Copyright © 2002 -
Poets' Tree: A Celebration of Poetry. All rights reserved.