Ryan Quinn Flanagan


He sits at his desk as the calls come in.
Working the black CB Radio.
His finger pushed down on the side
of the mouthpiece each time
he needs to talk.

All the driver’s time sheets
sitting hung from the wall in three rows
of brown clipboards.

A neglected cigarette
nestled in one of the grooves of a company ashtray
with a peeling logo on the bottom.

The yellowed nicotine fingers
of the dispatcher
working the knobs on the meter
like a man who always finds
himself out of love.


A Week in the Mines

The money is good
even if the rest of it is not.

Mother and daughter drinking at home.
On the newly renovated back deck.
Ashing their cigarettes into empty pop cans.

A whole two hour drive from the mines in Sudbury.
A small army of sons and husbands off for weeks at a time.
Down in the nickel mines, faces black as failing lungs.

Drinking at the Ledo bar in the evenings.
Put up in the nearby motels by the mining company.

Sending wages back home to moms, wives, children,
bills always waiting.

Two hours down the Trans-Canada highway.
Those giant plumes of smoke from the stacks
that dominate the dirty-depressed skyline.


Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author who lives in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many bears that rifle through his garbage. His work has been published both in print and online in such places as The New York Quarterly, Trailer Park Quarterly, Evergreen Review, Rusty Truck, and The Oklahoma Review. He enjoys listening to the blues and cruising down Trans Canada in his big blacked-out truck.