(2 Peter 1:14)


Lord Jesus Christ

Has told me I

Will soon leave this

Body behind.

~Day Williams

“Labor Day” by Joseph Millar

Labor Day
Even the bosses are sleeping late
in the dusty light of September.
The parking lot’s empty and no one cares.
No one unloads a ladder, steps on the gas
or starts up the big machines in the shop,
sanding and grinding, cutting and binding.
No one lays a flat bead of flux over a metal seam
or lowers the steel forks from a tailgate.
Shadows gather inside the sleeve
of the empty thermos beside the sink,
the bells go still by the channel buoy,
the wind lies down in the west,
the tuna boats rest on their tie-up lines
turning a little, this way and that.
Poem copyright ©2012 by Joseph Millar from his most recent book of poems, Blue Rust, Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2012. Poem reprinted by permission of Joseph Millar and the publisher.



1 Ephraim’s men called out their forces, crossed

Over to Zaphon and asked Jephthah, “Why

Did you go fight the Ammonites without

Calling on us to go with you? We will

               Burn down your house above your head.” 2 “I and

My people struggled with the Ammonites,”

Said Jephthah, “and although I called, you did

Not save me from them.  3 When I saw that you

Wouldn’t assist, I risked my life and crossed

Over to fight the Ammonites, and God

Gave me the victory above them. Now

Why have you come today to fight me?”

4 Jephthah

Then called together men of Gilead

And fought with Ephraim. Gileadites

Struck them down, for Ephraimites had said,

“You Gileadites are but renegades

From Ephraim and from Manasseh.” 5 Then

The Gileadites captured Jordan’s fords

Leading to Ephraim, and when a man

               From Ephraim who had survived said, “Let

Me cross,” the men of Gilead asked him,

“Are you an Ephraimite?” If he told           

               Them, “No,” 6 they said, “All right, say ‘Shibboleth.’

“If he said, “Sibboleth,” because he could

Not say the word correctly, they seized him

And killed him at the Jordan’s fords, so forty-

Two thousand Ephraimites were killed right then.

7 Jephthah led Israel six years. Then Jephthah

The Gileadite died, and he was buried

Within a town in Gilead, 8 and after

Him, Ibzan out of Bethlehem did lead

Israel. 9 He had thirty sons as well

As thirty daughters, and he gave his daughters

Away in marriage to those outside his

Own clan, and for his sons he brought in thirty

               Young women as their wives from outside his

Own clan. Now Ibzan headed Israel

For seven years. 10 Then Ibzan died, and was

Buried in Bethlehem. 11 And after him,

Elon the Zebulunite for ten years

Led Israel ten years. 12 Then Elon died,

And he was buried in Aijalon

Inside the land of Zebulun. 13 and after

Him, Abdon son of Hillel, who was from

               Pirathon, headed Israel. 14 He had

Forty sons and had thirty grandsons, who

Rode donkeys—seventy of them. He led

Israel eight years. 15 Abdon son of Hillel

Died and he was buried at Pirathon

In Ephraim, in the Amalekites’

               Hill country, where the birds will fly to heights.