Missouri, he claimed, was a southern state
antipodean high school geography was confused
remembering borders with Iowa, Nebraska and Illinois
didn’t want to upset the boss.
Still, he was from the part
which tucked as a chin into Arkansas
so perhaps for him an exception.
Southern man. By spirit. By prejudice. By wit.
Rick and Ricky.
Ricky, in the evening company of Jack Daniels
Rick, in the blurred light of new day.
Ricky at Christmas and Thanksgiving. Rick at all other times.
Rick. Mess captain at the diner, on the edge of the world.
cold and full of white shit
that was the overheard description, to his wife –
on an intercontinental phone hook up.
Cotton Belt molasses speed advice –
once, a pretty young thing surprised
3000 miles from nearest habitation
“you mean you bake bread here.”
“Boy,” he said
“before ya hire a woman, go outside and jack off.”
Another time when exclaiming
how could it possibly be my fault –
shit flows downhill.”
A decade later
When it was my turn at the wheel,
I only ever hired sturdy, sensible, middle-aged women
told staff effluent flowed from the top office
downhill, onto the factory floor.