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Erin E Elder

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Member Since: Sep, 2002


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Ode to the Night Shift Freight Worker
by Erin E Elder

Sunday, October 16, 2005
Rated "G" by the Author.
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Recent poems by Erin E Elder
•  Chained
•  Attack
           >> View all 3

The world doesn’t know who stands outside on a summer night
Peering at the handbill as a cloud passes over the moon.
Suicide bomber moths crash into the glare of his flashlight
He will brush them way and grimly load.

Wheels roaring in the distance, rattle and clang as they near
A familiar face leans out of a half opened truck window
And waves a friendly hand. Loneliness is interrupted for a few hours.
Though no one has time to speak or to visit more than a quip or a sneer.

The gnats are maddening. They know it and rejoice.
Partaking in the sweat that travels from forehead to contact lens.
They multiply and swarm every day until it gets cold.
Not too soon they are replaced with flocks of birds and leaves

Flocks of birds and leaves are replaced by nothing…only cold.
Soul-chilling, bone-hurting, eye stinging cold.
Dry and wet cold alternate. The workers long for July, forgetting past insects
And remembering children who will find holiday things because they work outside.

They work outside in the wind with tight-lipped smiles to keep their teeth from freezing.
The driver returns and brings something this time. He grins as he opens his door
And steps down with something to share that might warm them up.
After a few jokes and bites of parking lot pizza he goes inside to turn in his paperwork.

A brief mention of hazardous materials and the paperwork is signed correctly.
He’s through; nothing to do but wait. He is lonely again.

In the mad dash of forklifts running east and west
The air thick with diesel smell, each worker is in their world, looking out
Through the grid of a cage and the blinding headlights
They think of home and the wife that sleeps alone in the bed that a truck brought.

Erin Elder
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Reviewed by Thomas Mutchler 3/21/2011
Reminds me of when I worked delivering newspapers from 2 to 6 in the morning. Some captivating descriptions you've written here.

Reviewed by Z McClure 11/30/2010
Reminded me the the feeling I had once when walking through the sleepy streets of my hometown, which inspired me to write "Norwood Night".
You have done an absolutely superb job of capturing this shift!
Very much enjoyed!!

Reviewed by eliza keating 8/25/2010
i know this feeling so a nurse in a mental health ward we all most take our turn of the dreaded nightshift..and it seems to come around to quickly excellent piece of writing ...eliza keating
Reviewed by Paul Judges 12/16/2009
Excellent writing, Erin
Reviewed by Jack Lowe 10/17/2007
You've vividly and skillfully captured the life of a nightshift worker. I was one myself for many years and reading your fine poem brought back many memories for me.

Great work!
Reviewed by Ken Chartrand 2/27/2007
Hi friend, Erin,
This poem brought back memories of the quiet lonely moments during the slow perods, when I used to work in a wharehouse and the other times when later in life, I was a night watchman (Security Guard). I always wondered if any body cared that we worked nights as they were getting into their beds. Good writing! Please feel free to check out my site at or at yahoo 360 meettheauthors group.
Reviewed by Karen Vanderlaan 11/25/2006
really nice write-you really created the atmosphere!
Reviewed by Peter Paton 1/20/2006
Been there, seen that, done that !
It ain't no fun being on night shift, especially if you have a wife and family
A subject that gets easily passed over with indifference !
Well crafted
Reviewed by Elizabeth Taylor (Reader) 10/16/2005
"...Flocks of birds and leaves are replaced by nothing…only cold.
Soul-chilling, bone-hurting, eye stinging cold..."

You really set the mood with this work. Brava!
Reviewed by Marjorie Coogle (Reader) 10/16/2005
We forget that while we sleep others are on the job keeping things on the go. This is a great reminder.
Reviewed by Sandie Angel 10/16/2005
This is sad, but that is life. Many works night shifts of one kind or another.

Sandie May Angel a.k.a Sandie Angel :o)

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