One Poem by Jo Pitkin

One Poem by Jo Pitkin

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Village: Closing the Ruler Factory

There is nothing left to measure.

Here 12 and 1/2 employees—full-
timers and half-timers—had milled

scales, yardsticks, templates, rulers,
aluminum T-squares in rectangular

sea-blue Fairgate Rule Company at
the center of short Division Street.

For dozens of years, they’d scored
and punched gauges for designers,

dressmakers, architects, carpenters,
tailors, artists, draftsmen, engineers

until old clients put orders on hold
and machines retired a human guild.

Now wind cuts across a 10 x 10 lot,
100-square feet of dirt, rubble, foot-

high weeds. No more 8 to 4 shifts
tooling thin ticks or square shafts.

No one’s there to divide, cut, miter.

They’ll move on, catch up on sleep,
dream about cold light in the deep

abyssal zones of the starry oceans,
spread their hands to figure spans.

Let someone else count each cubit
in the orbit of our new 9th planet.




Jo PitkinJo Pitkin is the author of Cradle of the American Circus: Poems from Somers, New York; Commonplace Invasions; and Rendering and the editor of Lost Orchard: Prose and Poetry from the Kirkland College Community. She received a 2017 grant from Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund to work on a manuscript, Village: Recession, in which “Village: Closing the Ruler Factory” will appear. Jo lives in New York’s Hudson River Valley where she works as a freelance educational writer.

Photo of brick factory wall by Pexels, courtesy Pixabay. Photo of Jo Pitkin by Howard Goodman.

A Good Hike, by Camille T. Dungy
A Good Hike is the first online literary journal of place, publishing award-winning literature, art, editorials, and community case studies since 1998.