Share https://www.terrain.org/mp3/2017/jun/Pitkin_Closing_Full.mp3 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 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.