Poecology

Issue 3

 

 
 

Jack Snyder

 

Coalminers’ Haiku

 
 
                    We  move  in  dusty  industry.  We  place  worth  into  the  earth,  not on. //
                    Precious  metals  not  cherished.   Sweat  sheens  more  brilliant.   Night   in,
                    night  out, we // grind us down to hot marrow.  Recast  & calloused  over at
                    each  screech //  of  the  workman’s  whistle.  The mine cuts its teeth on our
                    bruised  bones.  We  eat // further  into  its  black  belly  to seat new posts, to
                    crown  with  beams.  Our // limbs made up mostly of ache.  Backs  torqued,
                    held  steady.  The  crossbeam  giveth, //  the  crossbeam  taketh  away.  We,
                    earthen,  we,   blackened,  don’t  want  meals  on  //  the  house  but   honest
                    work.  We  steal  rocks —  no,  earn.  Old  diesel  draglines  churn  //  up  the
                    surface, their  jib arms  like  felled  pines  always  on  the  way down.  We  //
                    drag us into the night-sky underground.  Blackened or sunless.  Ask  not,  //
                    ask less, what hell is.