Excelsior Fashion Products, Easter

by Dennis Nurkse

Dennis Nurkse

They pay us time and a half
and don’t dare catch us
drinking: we don’t insist,
don’t pass a bottle, but each sips
a private pint, all sitting
in the narrow room with our backs
to the center, each facing
his work—router, stain tray,
buffing wheel, drill press—
and with that sweet taste echoing
in our bones, we watch our hands
make what they always made
—rosewood handles—but now
we smile in delighted surprise
and Marchesi brings envelopes
that record a full day’s work
though it’s still noon,
processions still fill the streets,
choirs, loudspeakers bellowing
Hallelujah: and we change
into our finest clothes in the locker room,
admiring each other’s hat brims, passing bottles
freely until all are empty, and at last
we separate in the brilliant street, each
in the direction of a different tolling bell.

The Rules of Paradise

Last updated December 21, 2022