Here one learns a new vocabulary
tinwash, tray off, mobcap,
swiping in and stacking down.
Some of us arrived for a month
one spring and stayed forever
like jaded nomads finding pasture,
needs met, horizons ending here.
In ghost-infested rooms
the newcomer gets lost, disorientated
by the sprawling tangle and pulse
of peculiar machinery
whose failings have produced
a grim, resilient folklore
and we endure its unexpected power
to mess with natural instincts
until we finally grow indifferent
while paying lip service
to the gods of health and safety.
Published in Algebra of Owls, September 2017