RUTH 1943

Well, yes.
Of course she’s lucky to have a job.
Rose down the street is still looking.
A good job – she knows.
Her sister Claire washes floors
All night at the foundry.
While Ruth sits on a stool from eight to six
And connects mothers and sons
On the switchboard.
And yes.
She’s lucky to have finished school.
As her brothers had not.
Or Claire.
Ruth waits on her perch
And watches her circuits
Waits for conversations to end
Waits for days to end.
She walks by St. Mary’s
Where nurses in uniform come and go
In twos and threes.
They laugh.
She imagines herself in white stockings.
Her take-home is eighteen fifty.
She gives her mother sixteen.
Two-fifty for herself.
It’s fair.
Claire keeps three-eighty but is saving
For the wedding when Albert returns.
But yes.
She’s lucky.
Ruth has enough.
She’s saved it all but four thirty-nine
For a suitcase.