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Work song (a Poem in the form of the state of florida)
Work song (a Poem in the form of the state of florida)

Jason Gebhardt

[Accessibility Text for Screen Readers. Line breaks are preserved.]

Do you ever stop and find yourself humm-

ing? Something vaguely a song? A repetitiv-

e tune you've never heard before, though you listen to a lot of Philip Glass

and Brian Eno. A work hum. It gets you through the tasks that are a kind of humming. How

the bees must feel as they bop about your unintentional garden of flowering weeds.

How I broom the stairs or pin wet shirts to the line. Sometimes

you set out with an epic in mind and, once at it, you find

there's little that need be said. Ask John Milton.

He struggled with this, longed to

spend afternoons more simply,

picking dryer-warm socks

from the plastic basket and

matching them while watching

reruns of M*A*S*H and Sanf-

ord and Son. Redd Fox, I look

to the heavens and clutch my chest

This is the big one, Redd! I'm coming

to join you! You would have had so

much to say to the great blind poet.

Perhaps you're telling him now. And Alan

Alda, where are you?  In the 1980's, you

were filming the Korean War in

Calabasas, twenty miles from my

neighborhood. My grandpa

said you were a good man, that I

looked like you, even at ten. I'd

hope to be good too. Sometimes

it's simple. You stumble onto

something good and simple

and you repeat it. Pick

a river that is long

with a one-syllable

name and sing it.

There is one

called Peace.

JASON GEBHARDT's poems have appeared in the The Southern Review, Poet Lore, Iron Horse Literary Review, and Tinderbox Poetry Journal, among others. His chapbook Good Housekeeping won the 2016 Cathy Smith Bowers Prize. He is the recipient of multiple Artist Fellowships awarded by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

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