Nothing at All

My ancestors worked these rolling hills

Culling food from seeds so small.

My grandmother sewed trousers on the factory floor

Making something, out of nothing at all.

But me, my hands are idle, like a fallow field

Laid off and waiting for a call.

I’m broken and bewildered, don’t know my place

I’m just nothing, nothing at all.


My children see no future in the work I did

They’re not likely to pursue a trade

And really who can blame them for the only wage

Is the commission that the broker made

The dealer and the trader make top dollar now

The deal’s the thing of value, that is all

But it’s only just a shell game, there’s nothing there

They’re selling nothing, nothing at all


Remember the map in the Britannica

With little pictures of all the things we made?

Now the map is empty, all those icons’ve disappeared

And are not replaced.


When the hungry farmer eats the seed

When the waterman fries his bait ‘cause he has no haul

When the fabricator buys what he could have made

Then he’s got nothing, nothing at all.


© 2011 Pamela Cardullo Ortiz