Minne Bruce Pratt

Winner of the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award in 2002

Picking Up a Job Application



A spring wind hustles hundreds of pages into the street,
discarded leaflets like pieces of a shredded textbook
under the feet of high school students let out for lunch.

A young woman bends and grasps a flier: sliver of promise,
passport to enter through the golden arches, gateway to the west,
up escalator to immediate opportunity, and prosperity 
     somewhere
higher, those sky-reaching towers across the river looking down
     on her
and the crowd scrambling to buy a dollar- forty-nine-cent special
     meal.

Required? Just the have-a-good-day sticker on her backpack,
the smiley face plastered over her eyes and nose and mouth every
     day.
And one thing more, of course: Fill in application on the reverse--
English only please.
She speaks Hindi, Arabic, Tagalog, Spanish,
Greek, half a dozen other tongues hide behind her smiles. The day
she says Hello to her first customer is the day she says Hello
to the other women behind the counter, who are talking, but not
     smiling.
line

Cornelius Eady on Minne Bruce Pratt

In Minnie Bruce Pratt's fine poem, "Picking Up A Job Application," we as readers are reminded once again of the best elements of this poet's fiercely honest, yet tender and humane work. In an era when to turn one's attention upon the inner workings of government and human motive is perceived as suspicious, at best, it is a pleasure to say thanks to this poet, who betrays neither truth nor craft.

Go Back to Annual Awards Winners' Listing