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Greg Kosmicki

Dust coated men in from the fields like skin.

We breathed it in, the younger ones of us,

No masks, eyes only spared by goggles to

Brand me with the same raccoonish look dad

Wore, years before, when I was small and saw

Inside the black-painted tin lunchbox where

My mother stashed two ham sandwiches, thick

Around as tree stumps, wrapped in paper waxed

To be translucent and crinkly. Coffee

In the steel “Thermos jug,” my dad called it,

With its shiny inside-outside mirror

Stowed in the swinging tin lid and held there

By that gray metal clip he’d snap in place,

Then close the lid over the sandwiches,

The magic apple, red pack of Pall Malls,

And grin. That strange language—“Toodle-oo,” “Toods,”

And he was out the door that I walked in

Fifteen years later, wearing the same dust.



Greg Kosmicki's most recent collection of poems, We Eat The Earth was published by WSC Press in 2022. His previous collection, It's As Good Here as it Gets Anywhere was a finalist for the 2017 High Plains Book Award. He is retired and lives with his wife in Alpine, California.

Image Credit: Emma Grey Rose, "Rain"

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