All Over Town

For Fran:

All Over Town

She says she has seen me on my knees

All over town, which she has.

I told Troy I even had knee pads and he laughed

But installing water meters requires such things

As one is on her knees all day long.

I have made a living on my knees

An unceremonial effort for a woman of my sort

Kneeling so often to do my work

And being paid well for the same.

I have spent years kneeling in straw and sawdust

Massaging and bandaging the legs of race horses

Only to graduate to cleaning houses and scrubbing toilets

And even for a while the barroom floors at Farley’s Pub

A single mom scraping peanut shells out of the corners

So often on my knees.

I moved forward in the world and back to school

A single mom of two growing boys who got certified

Learning a new trade along the way

Reading water meters and taking samples

Moving up again to aquifer mapping

Kneeling in sun and sand, rocks and gravel

Working in the wind and snow

Dropping a steel tape deep into the throats of wells

Yes, deep throat if you will, haha,

There on my knees my dearest, always,

Coupled with a reverence that has grown with the years

All the way to now at sixty four years of age

Installing my second round of water meters in Carrizozo

Some twenty years after the first time

The same meter cans, the same gravely ground

But with knee pads this time around

And an even greater sense of humility

Than the first time.

I wrote a poem back then,

Twenty years ago while reading a water meter,

Kneeling on the same haloed ground,

“The ‘iron knees’ of life are that we don’t pray enough”

There are worse ways to make a living than to be on ones knees,

All over town.

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