Our Neighbor

Our Neighbor
by Ivan Hobson

Every family that lived in our court
had an American truck
with a union sticker on the back

and as a kid I admired them
the way I thought our soldiers
must have admired Patton
and Sherman tanks.

You once told me
that the Russians couldn’t take us,
not with towns like ours
full of iron, full of workers tempered
by the fires of foundries and mills.

It wasn’t the Russians that came;
it was the contract, the strike,
the rounds of layoffs that blistered
until your number was called.

I still remember you loading up
to leave for the last time,
the union sticker scraped off
with a putty knife,

the end of the white tarp draped
over your truck bed
flapping as you drove away.

2 thoughts on “Our Neighbor

  1. Interesting piece. Nice flow. I’m not quite sure why he’d scrape the sticker off. It seems foolish to blame the union, but then again I don’t have all the details.

    1. For some folks the bumberstickers work like superstitions. A token that wards off unemployment, membership in the collective belief in only the idea of Unionizied workers. Think lucky rabbits foot failing to save you from bad luck. When the gods of blue collar security failed him he became an unbeliever…without ever really understanding the requirements of his faith.

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