Books » Chapter and Verse

The Price of Labor

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A stitched horseshoe tag
above a back pocket that once
held thousands in cash and
credit receipts, the Dickies workpants

collect dust and lint
in the dim-lit basement.
Polyester and cotton blend,
they're more grey now than black.

Scratchy and stiff when bought,
relaxed after a hundred washes
to sheer pajama texture, cuffs ragged,
crotch worn, belt-loops frayed.

Shelved and folded neatly,
they’re still unconvinced of their uselessness.

— Fred Shaw

Fred Shaw is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and of Carlow University, where he received his master's of fine arts. He teaches writing and literature at Point Park University and Carlow University. He is the author of the chapbook Argot (Finishing Line Press). His poems have been published in 5AM, Poet Lore, SLAB, Nerve Cowboy and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, among others. He is also an occasional contributor of poetry and book reviews to Pittsburgh City Paper. In a parallel life, he has worked in the service industry for the past 25 years. He lives in West View with his wife and rescued hound dog.

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