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SWING SHIFT

Grandpa worked the assembly line
at Fisher-Price, swing shift.
During his afternoon nap,
Grandma packed his dinner;
pastrami on white bread with mustard,
thermos of coffee and a slice of cherry pie.
At three-thirty, Grandpa stuck his finger
in the canary's cage and whistled
gave Grandma a peck at the door,
then stomped down the sidesteps
metal lunch box in hand.
Grandma spent her evening embroidering,
reading True Confessions,
waiting until after midnight
for the humming of their Ford
on the gravel driveway.
Sometimes Grandpa came home
with toys he added to the box in the attic
brought down for us kids when we visited.
I remember a wooden puppy
with a shoe dangling from his mouth,
a popcorn pusher and ten-little Indian radio.
By the time he retired,
Grandpa was Great-Grandpa.
I can still see him leaning forward
in his recliner and picking up
my son's race car as it rolled past his feet.
He examined the parts and spun the wheels,
shaking his head. "Plastic!" he said.

Mary Laufer
MARY LAUFER, a Buffalo native, now lives in Forest Grove, Ore.

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