Just in case they boast a monster
like Barbie, a Polly Pocket, blue lego, hardened ball of playdough
or a ghastly spider on retreat from the garage,
one at a time, the boot turns upside down
then rests on the floor  

One row at a time, strong, rough fingers
pull thick black laces taut
and tie them at the high top of each filthy, steel-toed shoe
After getting up before dawn for 25 years of loyal service,
he could do this in his sleep  

A quick peck on the forehead,
keys, wallet, doubled Walmart bags with lunch,
he slips around the kitchen corner and out the door
His last known presence before arrival of 4pm’s welding grime—
The faithful sound of easy-going black work boots on the concrete drive  

My eyes sting with sentiment, see blurred objects all around
Throat muscles tighten, clamp vocal chords
Swallowing the mass of emotion is futile
as a result of the scene’s recognition and power—
this space connects worthless black soot and brilliant worth  

His character, integrity, and work ethic rules
the monotony, the repetition of roughly 6,000 work days
This mighty reign speaks the language of constant love and devotion
With each safety check for hidden objects, tug at dirty boot laces, and a day’s completion, holiness abides.