The Light Factory

By Sandy Gringras

I work the night shift at the light factory.
The gears of the conveyor belt slip
silently, and emptiness goes by me
one segment at a time. I have to take
the dark in my gloved hands and make
something of it, then connect it to something else.
Someone further along the line bends
it, I think. Nobody really knows much about
the other guy’s job here. We just do our part.

There are no windows in this factory.
The air is like milk, and they pump in
music that has a beat, so we don’t fall asleep
on the job, but we still do. My mother says
I should get a real job, make something solid
out of my life. “There’s enough light
as there is,” she lectures me. “There’s the sun
and the stars,” she says, as if I don’t know this already.

“What do you DO in there?” she asks. I don’t want
to tell her how much we joke around, tell stories,
talk about men. “I can’t really describe it,”
I tell her. “I do it mostly by feel.” Sometimes,
I bring one of the seconds home
with me after my shift. They don’t like it
when you do this, but everyone sneaks some.
I go home at dawn, put it on my dresser
next to the open window, watch it fan
out like a wild thing into the pink sky.
I don’t know why it feels so good to let it go.


Sandy Gringas is the author and illustrator of twenty-four gift books. She designs gifts and stationary products for several companies and owns two retail stores. She lives with her husband and her golden retriever on an island six miles out to sea off the coats of New Jersey. She won the Debut Dagger award for a mystery she wrote in 2012. You can visit her website at: sandygingras.com

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