“A Stranger’s Peace” and “In the Moment”

In Issue 70 by Steve Snyder

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Photo by Dmitry Rozental on Shutterstock

A Stranger’s Peace

The smell of sawdust I breathe in

As I work on the assembly line.

The monotonous, mechanized creation of orange crates

Gives my spirit peace — a stranger’s peace.

I’ve become accustomed to my repetitious role

Binding the crates with an industrial staple gun

And tossing one after another down the line.

My mind wanders through space and time.

“In my mind's eye” Jethro Tull plays as I remember

The guitar chords opening “Sossity You’re A Woman.”

I pull the staple gun trigger with a loud metallic BAMM

As my hands remember her soft flesh

And as the metal staple penetrates the wood

I breathe in the smell of her skin and the scent of her breath.

I sense the unknown, the mysterious,

And that which hangs in the balance

As I toss the next box down the assembly line

And I return from the Deep and Dark

To the reality of the factory.

We are strangers here

But in the haze of sawdust

We have come to know each other.

I’m one of many speaking in different tongues.

We barely understand each other

But for our gestures

And understanding the smell of sawdust

The cold of winter and the dry heat of middle eastern summer.

On this afternoon, we also share seeing

As we gaze upwards

The sight of a white bird as it flies into the factory

Flying through the haze of sawdust

Above the noise of the assembly line.

We have all traveled here in each other's footsteps

But each of us perceives the white bird

As it circles above our work together

Through different eyes.

Divergent paths have brought each of us here

Amid this labor of strangers in an ancient land

In this factory that will someday become ancient

In the Valley of Jezreel.

By accident through an open window

Or by design, it’s origin and purpose unknown,

This creature hovers above us

In the land of Israel.

In the Moment

In the moment I first saw you

Heard your voice, heard you speak,

Breathed in your scent, joked with you,

Kissed you, inhaled your breath,

Felt the soft creamy flesh of your shoulders,

Saw the beauty, awe, and wonder

Of your profound brown eyes,

Tried to solve the mystery of you,

Held your hand in mine

As we walked a thousand streets.

In the moment I first saw you

You became an archetype

Burned into the memory of my soul.

When I need fuel, when I need fire,

I remember the first time

That I saw your nakedness

Your long brown hair

Soft against the bare skin

Of your shoulders and the beautiful curve of your hips

Your eyes closed as you lay sleeping in the night

Dreaming mysteries.

About the Author

Steve Snyder

Steve Snyder is a retired merchant from Norfolk, Virginia. He has a B.A. in English Literature from The University of Richmond and a B.S. in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling from Virginia Commonwealth University. He and his wife, Anne, live in the Chick's Beach area of Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Read more work by Steve Snyder .