I watched a documentary about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire a few days ago and it's haunted me ever since. This is just a little tribute to that.
I do not have to go to work on Sundays.
One day a week, gone the moment it arrives
and the other six I’m hunched over a machine
In the heart of town
me and a hundred other girls
trying too hard not to feel
in the heat, the sweat, the dirt and our bloodied hands
else we lose our minds.
The bell rings on Saturday as the sun goes down
And soon I’m on the train home
To Ma and Pa and little Bella
who is becoming quite grown up.
She’s eleven now and still so innocent.
I worry, with all the girls that come and go,
the deductions from my paycheck
for all the needles broken and fabric ripped
and minutes I’ve been late,
she won’t be much longer.
I hate to think of her in there,
but they pay a decent wage
and it keeps us fed and warm.
But I mustn't think of that now.
It’s Saturday evening and I’m going back
to the ones I love
and the handsome boy across the hall
whose smiles make my cheeks turn red.
yesterday he told me the best dancing is on Coney Island
and after we could ride the ferris wheel
and eat cotton candy.
I think of it now, the lights, the music,
and the people
and for a moment I do not think of the factory.
It's a greater gift than I could ever know.
Before I leave Bella tells me I look beautiful
and for the the first time since my first glance at Lady Liberty
I feel hope.