Childhood Factories By Matt Dennison

Childhood Factories


The first was making
bibles: sweating and
cursing and
and making
of big, thick,
Catholic Bibles
and if one had even
the slightest defect
we had to throw it away.
At the end of the day
heaven’s dumpster
was always full.

An old-timer walked by,
picked one up and said,
to no one in particular:
I never seen nothing so pretty
before placing it gently
back in the trash.

Next we printed Brautigan’s
Loading Mercury with a Pitchfork.
A young female worker
picked one up, read aloud:
Fuck me like fried potatoes
On the most beautifully hungry
Morning of my God-damn life.
announced to everyone: What trash…
and tossed it aside.


Then I made brake shoes,
shoveled and breathed
asbestos formaldehyde powder
into three mud-pie bins,
pushed a button to crush them,
waited, lifted
them out
and placed them on a cart
eight feet wide
that I loaded five feet high,
pulled to the hot-press station
and unloaded one by one.

It was WWII
it was
the Stone Age
there were no women.


Then bottle caps.
Millions and millions
of bottle caps
pouring into
to lift and switch,
lift and switch
at the end of the line
but there was a woman,
a lovely black-haired woman
who told me on break that
it must be nice to be a writer,
though I really wasn’t,
to rise above it all
and not really
be here.

And she gave me her number
and she was married
and I was

and something finally happened.

By Matt Dennison

Previously published by Chiron Review


After a rather extended and varied second childhood in New Orleans, Matt Dennison’s
work has appeared in Rattle, Bayou Magazine, Redivider, Natural Bridge, The Spoon
River Poetry Review and Cider Press Review, among others. He has also made videos
with poetry videographers Michael Dickes, Swoon, and Marie Craven.

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