Annie Lampman, 8/25/2014
Current Occupation: English Dept. Lecturer
Former Occupation: Homemaker/Cook's Assistant/Pinecone Picker (yep, that's a real thing!)
Contact Information: Annie Lampman grew up in the woods of Idaho and now lives in Moscow, ID with her husband, three teen sons, and a bevy of hens. She has an MFA from the University of Idaho where she currently teaches writing. Her work has been published in High Desert Journal; Dunes Review; word~river; IDAHO magazine; Copper Nickel: Women Writing the West; the meadow; and the Talking River Review. She has been awarded a Pushcart Prize special mention and an Idaho Commission on the Arts writing grant.
Find a Trade
Serving Chinese food was his first job—résumé
blank—reuse the plate-scraped fried rice, find ways
to save. Pizza, baked manicotti—find a trade—
steamed lobsters, cooking his way to mattress money
before new skills of machete and palmetto, staking places
of diamondbacks’ husking rattles, learning the survey.
Find a trade, stick with it his dad always said. So he surveyed:
rodman, chainman, instrument-man—an itemized Florida résumé
before his departure, driving expanses of never-ending land, places
of muscle-car breakdowns and steaming radiators on the way
to paradise: San Diego, Tijuana tequila border skip, money,
partying, stolen FM 91X flag, women and beaches, trade
the Barracuda for a 300ZX, learn surfing and the easy trade
of three-day weekends, shorts and sunburned surveying.
Long hair, skateboards, beach volleyball, maxed money
“where the grass is green and the girls are pretty,” résumé
added to: construction staking, California city working ways.
Then, a girl—me. Idaho and isolation, backpacking places
like Rhodes Peak, Goat Lake, the State-Line Trail—places
made to keep him. Simplicity, family, a new trade
of wildfire, blackened boots, soot-weary summers, this way
of the woods: a wife and sons, howling hounds next door, survey
lines stretched tight, fences and feuds. Add to the résumé:
ten years of wildfire, winter, lay-offs, injury. Money
stretched tight, simple poverty of backwoods money.
Work hard, work long, sacrifice your body—the places
he’s been outlined on this sixty-watt spotlit résumé
working record of his life, his many trades:
Cook, Mason, Carpenter, Wildland Firefighter, Pipe-fitter, Surveyor.
Emergency surgeries, blown discs, disability. Find a trade, find your way.
His blackened crustacean memories: sand in the sheets, the way
he ate lobster off the floor, worked in shorts, made easy money
before a decade of Idaho burned away, then back to the survey—
climbing burden of class and family, impoverished work at places
with names like “progressive,” city stress and high-dollar trade.
A wrecked body, an uprooted life, an updated résumé.
His work is that way: fire and survey, surgery and loss, places
of money and injury printed in his name, the trades
of his life a debt written deep in his résumé.