Head Honchos

Gabriel Bates

There they go,
walking self-importantly
around the factory
with their clean dress clothes
and flimsy clipboards.

Team leaders,
and so on.

We’re just the grunts
stuck here doing all the work,
covered in oil
and metal shavings
from head to toe.

So it’s not hard to tell
that they look down on us.

They don’t even bother
to speak to us
unless it’s to say,
“Hurry up!
We need those parts today!”

And while they sit
in their air-conditioned offices,
we sweat and toil for scraps
compared to their salaries.

They watch us
from their cushy swivel chairs
with eyes like dead fish,
and it makes me wonder
if they’re human at all.

Because I could be wrong,
but I don’t think
you can fit a soul into
one of their white-collared shirts.

[Gabriel Bates is a poet living in Tiffin, Ohio. His work has appeared in several publications, online and in print. Keep up with him at gabrielbates.substack.com]