National Poetry Month Day 16: Amanda Deutch


Island Factory

From water to water he worked

he traveled by IND. I know little else
about him. Sol worked at a pocketbook

factory in Long Island City. Everyday
from Coney Island to Queens. Immigrants

off to their factory jobs. I am told he
was gentle, kind. Did he watch Luna Park’s

pinwheels spin through the F Train
window (then the Culver Line) on his way

to work? Or the crowds shuffle
home full & sticky after dark? Their

bellies fatter, wallets emptier. Bodies
sticky with sugar and sex, covered
in grains of Atlantic Ocean salt

leather pouches—

a simple fold
navy patent leather
gold leather
silver leather
black leather

he made all day in the factory
dye & leather stains stitches

piecemeal work brought home after
the factory closed for the day

to make extra hours =
dollars. Sometimes, the men

sewed. What

were the sounds like in their hallway?
Yiddish? German? Italian? Russian? Spanish?

Soft or loud? Sol had a heart
attack locked

in the hospital bathroom (his second).
I was five months old.

I have three pocket books he made somewhere on
these city islands in a factory surrounded by water

–Amanda Deutch


Amanda Deutch is a poet and artist. She is the author of several chapbooks, most recently: Pull Yourself Together (DGP, 2016). Her poetry and prose has been published in Denver Quarterly, Barrow Street,  EOAGH, 6×6, Shampoo, Bone Bouquet and elsewhere. Deutch is the recipient of awards from Brooklyn Arts Council, New York State Council on the Arts; a Footpaths to Creativity Fellowship and a Pushcart Prize Nominee. A born and raised New Yorker, she lives in Brooklyn and founded Parachute Literary Arts in Coney Island.

Original poetry published by The Rumpus. More from this author →