Maddox Table - Natalie Merchant

The legs of Maddox kitchen tables
my whole life twisted on a lathe
in a foreman's torrent
my first English was
"faster boy if you want your pay"
barking commands
loud and simple
we could all obey

Then I was forever pulling silvers
rubbed the sawdust always
deeper in my eye
varnish vapor that could linger
on my skin
it held tight
the whine of spinning blades
still echoes to bother my sleep at night

See that ox
stamped dead center
on the letter head of the company mail
four decades a spitting image
of the animal I portrayed
at Maddox Table a yoke was carved
for my neck

Sun through the window oil spattered
and in mason jars
tricked plenty seeds thrive
the standing joke
around the shop was
with my green thumb
anything'd grow
my part was to laugh
show and ornery jig had
cut it at the knuckle bone

See that oxen
trade mark burned
into every stick of furniture
from horn to tail
four decades a spitting image
of the animal I portrayed
at Maddox Table a yoke was carved
for my neck
was tailor made

Oh, my Dolly was a weak
not a burdened girl
treat her to a piece of vaudeville
a Wintergarden moving picture show
Bemus Point on July Sundays
by trolley we'd go

To your benefit we'll strike a bargain
with the waving fist of a union man
not just for
smokes
spirits
candy and cologne
but for
automobile keys
cash in the bank
and the deed
on a place called home

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