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Child of the Romans

by Carl Sandburg, 1916

The dago shovelman sits by the railroad track
 Eating a noon meal of bread and bologna.
     A train whirls by, and men and women at tables
     Alive with red roses and yellow jonquils,
     Eat steaks running with brown gravy,
     Strawberries and cream, eclaires and coffee.
 The dago shovelman finishes the dry bread and bologna,
 Washes it down with a dipper from the water-boy,
 And goes back to the second half of a ten-hour day’s work
 Keeping the road-bed so the roses and jonquils
 Shake hardly at all in the cut glass vases
 Standing slender on the tables in the dining cars.

Published in Chicago Poems

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