For all who mined in Arigna
I breathe into you and yours
as you work towards earth’s core
and carry the love you leave behind
on days spent digging for life.
You leave your own
to battle coal, war stone,
smother foes with explosions of rock –
bullets that streak like stars slain by sky –
prostrate under the weight of water,
to drown in sumps, shelter in gob.
Your weapons are not the sword or gun
but clips and caps; hutch a cart for those
mourned only by the foreman’s truce,
their funeral your trek into darkness,
the wounded day’s retreat.
Camouflaged by falling night,
you pause in thanks to Him,
embrace the sanctity of votive light
then let it fade with distance,
wait for dawn.