An advertisement for a Westinghouse washer and dryer published in "Good Housekeeping" magazine, October 1949. Photo: Classic Flim via Flickr

Poetry

The pinko commie dyke hires

November 21, 2018Julie R. Enszer

The pinko commie dyke hires
a repair man from a company she found online
He is white nearly sixty and from Alabama
but living in Florida since ’08
because this is where the jobs are

He has a bad knee
It buckles as he walks
down the stairs
he catches himself with the rail

When he delivers the news
the washer cannot be fixed
too old—they don’t manufacture
the parts any more—a shame

the pinko commie dyke asks
what machine do you recommend
he looks her up and down and says
don’t buy from the Koreans

you think with an American name
they are American-made
but they are Korean—Sanyo LG
the machines look good but

the Koreans don’t make anything that lasts
he pauses and looks at her again
maybe buy a Whirlpool
The pinko commie dyke stares at the repair man

From Michigan she knows laid off
Whirlpool workers but now she realizes
she doesn’t know where any appliances
are made

She imagines wherever people make appliances
the work breaks their bodies
as it broke bodies in Michigan
as work has broken the appliance repair man’s body

she would like to make a connection
between those workers and the repair man
show a web of globalization
connecting
constrainingthem all

but words fail her
whelp
, he says, you’ll figure it out
nothing is really good anymore
nothing is like it used to be

Julie R. Enszer is the author of four collections of poetry, including Lilith's Demons and Avowed, the editor of Milk & Honey: A Celebration of Jewish Lesbian Poetry and The Complete Works of Pat Parker, and the editor and publisher of Sinister Wisdom.