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Labor poem

Wisconsin State Journal, Madison, WI


The baskets, handlebars, the back tire swerve.

Light snow over in the dark. The back tire

over the light, the load. And a little

after 5 a.m. the heavy baskets, hill.

All my trouble rolled down. Cold fingers,

the paper load, gloves only partly. The rolled

and the rolled. Taped handlebars, apartment dark

rows. For my trouble, rubber band, a dog,

the heavy baskets. Deliver and deliver.

Alarms they have not yet heard. Fingers in

the cold gloves only partly. All my trouble

to deliver. The swerve, a dog. Snow back tire

over after 5 a.m. The basket load down

a light snow hill, my trouble in the dark.

Labor poem

Subway Guitars Bicycles, Berkeley, CA

Kickstands and the grease caked on. The spokes, grease,

gaps in the spoke lace. Another country.

Quarter or half turns, some days, smell of damp

and the tape deck. The tape I brought. The spokes

bent and the beat-up tape deck, one bulb,

wobbly rim. The spoke wrench, quarter or half turns,

which pedal threads in reverse. Slowly the rim,

gaps in the spoke lace. At least truer. The grease,

beat-up, the tape I brought back from another

country. Which pedal. Slowly, smell of damp,

some days no-one comes. Kickstands. Quarter

or half, the spokes bent, the tape, at least

truer. Some days, the smell of. One bulb,

the wobbly rim. From another country.


"Something Like Trouble"- Ellen Langford 

Dan Alter.jpg

Dan Alter's poems have lately been published  in Burnside Review, Field, Fourteen Hills, Pank, and Zyzzyva among others. He lives with wife and daughter in Berkeley and makes his living as an electrician. He holds an MFA from Saint Mary’s College. He can be found online at

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