May Day, 2021: A poem

Cafe Cong” Hanoi, Vietnam

It’s getting to the point,
when every clean strand
of weave becomes a question.
A delicate cloth of bird song,
sweat shop made –
that swallows the sun,
the moon and everything.
My father told me to
learn a trade, so I learnt.
A penny, a pound, a car
a house, food on the table –
and suddenly I can hardly stand.
Trying to sleep off
a miserable night shift.
How long has it been
since I told you, I love you?
Or kissed your cheek?
But now, I have to work-
for the label,
the colour, the shade
the shirt…nothing more.

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