Industrial Revelation

by Jodi Barnes

I tell my students about a time

when seniority was told

by the number of fingers

on a worker's hands


No weekends or overtime,

children — bare toes dangling —

twelve hours on the line


I look for signs of empathy

as we watch Norma Rae

UNION placard above her head


Instead someone mimics

Sally Fields' Oscar line:

You like me; You really like me!


Another asks if she's had

more than one facelift,

a third, metalic nails mid-text,

announces she might be dead.