Offcourse Literary Journal

Chicago Wages, a poem by Mark Prudowsky.

He's a concrete man, leans from his ladder, bootlaces caked
with cement, dusted arms extended to plywood forms. I

know him as Octavio — over lunch watch him beam as
he passes pictures of his wife, Angelina their three

sons, two daughters, their twelve grandchildren. He works as a
foreman for old man O'Dooley who appreciates his quick

diligence and regrets each November when Octavio
tails wax wings and tanagers home to Oaxaca. The old

man pays him fifteen dollars four bits an hour. Sean Healy,
O'Dooley's Bridgeport neighbor, tails Octavio by ten

years and has no children. He too is a foreman for
O'Dooley — is paid eighteen even an hour. On Sundays

in Humboldt Park, under limber shadows that skirt the lagoon
Octavio and his cousin sing songs of their mountain

home and older men and younger men play stern games of chess
and younger mothers laugh with their mothers at the little

ones launching paper sailboats in the murky shallows. In
San Pedro de Yolax Angelina bathes in the shoals

of the Rio Luna. By an avocado tree she
dresses — remembers Octavio's soft winter kisses
lingering in the copse of piñón above the currents.

Mark Prudowsky is a fifty-one-year-old electrical contractor. He lives and works in Marshall, NC. His work has appeared online at lily lit review, in motion magazine and exquisite corpse. He has been published in print at headwaters, milestone and heartstone. He writes poems, essays and short stories.

You may reach him at



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