44's Poem by William Kofoed

44's



On a hot summers day
sunlight beating down
black asphalt radiates
the sun's burning heat

with the stink of diesel fumes
and the screech of air brakes
the tractor painted white
pulling a trailer oh so long

they called and gathered us
to form a line so long
pushed up the rolling door
threw out a 40 pound case

cases heavy and white
smelling of citrus sharp
filled with fruit orange
called out 52's

started a sing song chant
with every case they threw
we pass them down the chain
each case caught and then thrown on

sweating in hot sun light
young muscles with effort strained
as the chant went on
till called out 44's

the older men did stop
the endless cases thrown
with smiles they gathered around
us youth gathered behind

the case they opened then
with oranges so large filled
each one they did pass on
till each of us had one

an orange so big had I
never seen before
and soon I was to learn
the very reason why

every orange in the case we ate
each and every one
till the 44's were gone
and then we continued on

a lesson I did learn
of oranges never seen
and never found in stores
a case of 44's

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