July 2004 / Volume Five / Issue Three / Online
Matt Smith
Going Home

he was at the bottom
of a deep ditch
that had been dug out
by a machine.

he tried to scale the earthen walls,
but it just came apart in his hands
and he slid down again.

there were men gathered around
the edge of the ditch looking down
at the man in the bottom.

one of the men left
to get lunch.
the others waited
and watched.

the man in the ditch
was crying now.
desperate.
trying to make it home.

when the sun
went down
the other men
called it a day
and left.

their wives were waiting
their children were waiting
they had to get home.
soon.

one of them told me
they thought
the man in the ditch
was named Dave,
but they didn't know
for sure.