this is a mining town

Prevailing winds mounting
the uproar of quartz and feldspar shifting underfoot
the indignities of a stripped mountain flesh cut back
to reveal its inner being
the rooted canals, water long dried to minerals
the gaping mouths of seas rubbed raw
shocks of basalt ballooning and then freezing
shelf-life decay
impossible to meet with the eye

they want concrete, not abstract
every rock an animal, every mountain a waste pile

drink the iron, crunch the anthracites, smash your teeth
against the coal, make it black, make it uneasy, make it

a river of expectations toppling like lava
erasure light and airy as tephra
settling until hardened, cemented civilizations; this rivulet of fact
Pennsylvania harboured like a stillborn, Appalachians taking
every man in the state underground
blackening them and finally, closing all the lights
the last pull of oxygen from the lungs

when it feels good, suffocate –
suffocate ceaselessly and repeat; collapse is inevitable,
lung or otherwise. This is a mining town.


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