Leftovers at the Lays Factory
They were potato chip sorters, standing half a room away from each
other. Al was assigned to position C7, Dawn to D1, both picking out
rejects. They'd done this most of their lives.
He lets a few get by. "Don't tell me about me, let's look at yourself,"
he says to a thin one with too much green and burnt edges.
Dawn is only a conveyer belt away. She looks for the ones that others
have missed. There are many, so she shoots Al a look, not caught
because he's scribbling a love note to her, shielding it under his
apron. Often he hides his hands—they've been scarred by hot
oil—in a similar way. She remembers a movie, thinks that
Richard Gere is like a God who doesn't exist.
The blue paper with her name on it rushes toward her, bouncing on discs
that glisten with oil. It's so perfect. She's spent years picking out
imperfection. She'll lean to reach a mistake, and the good ones roll
They aren't taken.
I see miracles—things I can't explain: a convertible with
people jumping up and down; a rock flying; a talking dog; a cripple
walking on water. The darkness sings me a kind of hymn. I see
you both, so clear and sweet that I hold you inside my pale arms. The
moon lived the bargain. The moon is still here. If I'm able, I'll hold
up my end.