Dustpans and Thimbles

Dustpans and Thimbles

Don’t gather your dust pan too soon,

Don’t sweep away these stanzas I’ve composed to stick to you.

Like the finger of the 10-year old boy who just taught himself how to hand sew his own tongue into your shoe without a thimble,

He did not have to sell his soul, you merely bought it, slipped that suede onto your foot and not once wondered whose soul you were stomping on.

Let this be no shock, nor be it a surprise;

The cell phone in your pocket was made by a child, who was swept into poverty and placed in a dustpan you’d retrieved from your pantry too soon.

The sticker “Made in Taiwan” is his signature and his enslaver is this country,

His plantations run low on supplies and this little boy will soon go hungry

His mother clothes your back and his father is a miner, in his country, labor laws do not protect minors, so he pushes thread, assembling your footwear, and it seems with every seam, he stitches up his optics, losing sight of his dreams,

Because he’s been awake for 36 hours.

Blistered palms and bloody fingertips are quick to devour,

A 10 year old’s hopes of an education,

Maybe if he could read and write, he’d have stopped himself from slaving away for Satan…meaning America of course.

Signe here, sign there, terms of agreement holds a list of grievances he never learned to draft,

He sleeps on stone floors with broken glass as sheets

No jumping on the bed, unless you want to lacerate your feet,

He’s quiet in his sleep, but sings symphonies of agony in his sleep

He is hurting, the scars on his fingertips are burning, and his memories are stuck on repeat;

Every morning he wakes up hungrier than he went to sleep,

He wishes he weren’t alive;

It’s insane to think of a 10-year-old boy who just wishes to die

So, you don’t think of it

But this life is what you make of it, but this boy isn’t making it

He’s just working a job and he can no longer tell

The difference between his sweat and his tears,

He’s breathing through exhaust pipes, careful not to suffocate on his bad dreams

When they get so real,

He can no longer stand reality, so he returns to his bedroom with nightmares as a nightcap to wake

Dehydrated again.

He is starving,

But it’s only alarming

When your alarm goes off in the morning.

He is hurting,

But it’s only concerning

When the sole of your shoe gives you blisters,

Now he’s gone,

And the only thing you have left of him,

Is a sticker,

“Made in Taiwan”


– Dillion Youngblood aka Malik Gratts, 9th grade

Chisholm Trail High School

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