My dad and I used to go up to the O&M where he worked,

sometimes at night he’d have things to finish.

I would run

and play in the long dusty halls,

plunging my hands into the silkiness of huge bins of grass seed,

pulling used carbon paper out of treasure chest

wastebaskets to take home.

To earn a dollar sometimes

I would scrub out glass ashtrays caked with ashes

and pull the awkward vacuum cleaner around the dingy office floors,

banging through the swinging door

that flapped behind me like I was wind.

I would straighten stacks of dusty agricultural literature on the counter.

Sometimes I’d read it,

it wasn’t very exciting.

After he finished his own work, he’d show me things

like trays of seeds germinating in moist paper towels

or scales that could weigh a hair

or his new xerox machine,

all as toys exclusively ours for the night.

I never knew how people could say work was monotonous.

My father and I were close in our own way.

by Cher Bibler