Death At Boeing's

Phenyl formaldehyde mostly.
Avimid later, and a passel more
I never heard name of. 
They had us working seven-day weeks,
ten-hour shifts, upside down,
your head in the holes,
smoothing out plastic.
They give you gloves, but the gloves
would burn through in minutes, and
then if you asked for more
you were making trouble.
I'm lucky.  I only got these rashes and this
memory.  The headaches only come just with
cleaners or new rugs or paint.  I got
my Social.  I've given up on
doctors.  Madge tried to make a claim, they
did everything but slivers under her fingernails,
she'd come back from the clinic just bawling.
You have to go to the Boeing's clinic, you know,
they'd say things about her mama, trying to
make her out crazy, you see.  Well by now,
of course, truth to tell, Madge doesn't have
much left, it does that to you, you know. 
She worked in by the ovens,
you could see fumes coming off the molds.
Hunks of her hair fell out. 
She'll never see a dime, of course.
Boeing writes all the laws, too. 
Lord, you should have seen her when she was young! 
She was our pitcher, and this was back before slow-pitch.
We were proud of what we were doing.
I was on one of those jets once,
visiting my sister in Kansas.
Businessmen in their ties all around me.
They never thought I should be there.
They never think anyone has to make any of it for them,
well they're happier now it's just robots I'm sure.


From Raven Chronicles (Volume 10, #2)


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