The Job

by Dorianne Laux
Laux. What We Carry. The Job
for Tobey When my friend lost her little finger between the rollers of a printing press, I hadn't met her yet. It must have taken months for the stump to heal, skin stretched and stitched over bone, must have taken years before she could consider it calmly, as she does now in an airport café over a cup of black coffee. She doesn't complain or blame the unguarded machine, the noise of the factory, the job with its long unbroken hours. She simply opens her damaged hand and studies the emptiness, the loss of symmetry and flesh, and tells me it was a small price to pay, that her missing finger taught her to take more care with her life, with what she reaches out to touch, to stay awake when she's awake and listen, to pay attention to what's turning in the world.