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by Shawn Jacobson

My son asks me to wash his red shirt,
the one with “manager” stitched on the front.
“You know what happens to guys
who wear red shirts on Star Trek?” I ask.
My son affirms his knowledge; I load the washer.

We talk of space and aliens,
the dangers of unsung work,
the surprises thrown at us
in the course of free-form life.
As the washer runs I know he will be ready,
clothed for battle in his red shirt.

Later, after he returns from work,
we watch a space show he has saved.
The hero battles evil aliens with weapons
blasting lightning and thunder.
In the midst of this theatrical battle,
I ask my son about his working day.

“The day was hectic,” he replies wearily.
“We had a horse-allergic customer collapse.
We called in emergency responders.
We cleaned up protein spills.
We ran out of food; customers were enraged.
Management stormed the castle, armed with corporate fury.”

Redshirt-clad folk hold the battle line
where human foibles, failings, follies, and frailties
intersect with all the craziness of life.
And so my son with red shirt on, I salute you,
go forth and fight until the battle’s won.

Copyright © 2020 by Shawn Jacobson

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