Excelsior Fashion Products, Easter

By D. Nurkse D. Nurkse
They pay us time and a half   
and don’t dare catch us
drinking: we don’t insist,
don’t pass a bottle, but each sips   
a private pint, all sitting
in the narrow room with our backs   
to the center, each facing
his work—router, stain tray,   
buffing wheel, drill press—
and with that sweet taste echoing   
in our bones, we watch our hands   
make what they always made   
—rosewood handles—but now   
we smile in delighted surprise   
and Marchesi brings envelopes   
that record a full day’s work   
though it’s still noon,
processions still fill the streets,   
choirs, loudspeakers bellowing   
Hallelujah: and we change
into our finest clothes in the locker room,   
admiring each other’s hat brims, passing bottles   
freely until all are empty, and at last   
we separate in the brilliant street, each   
in the direction of a different tolling bell.

D. Nurkse, “Excelsior Fashion Products, Easter” from The Rules of Paradise (New York: Four Way Books, 2001). Used by permission of Four Way Books.

Source: The Rules of Paradise (Four Way Books, 2001)

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Poet D. Nurkse

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Jobs & Working, Activities

Holidays Easter

 D.  Nurkse


D. Nurkse is the author of numerous collections of poetry, including The Rules of Paradise (2001), The Fall (2003), and The Border Kingdom (2008). His parents escaped Nazi Europe during World War II—his Estonian father worked for the League of Nations in Vienna, his mother was an artist—and moved to New York. Nurkse’s family moved back to live in Europe for a number of years, returning to the United States around the time of the . . .

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SUBJECT Jobs & Working, Activities

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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