(Dedicated to the United Mine Workers Union
I was changing horses in the middle of the stream when a current of coalmining ghosts pulled me into a dream. For days and weeks and seconds and hours of being in their souls, I was gently laid before a golden throne. From the throne rose a cast-iron robot in a suit of pinstrip minerbones. On his left finger there were diamonds and on his right thumb was a fingernail gold. I’m sorry but I can’t explain more because suddenly the monster spoke and I was frozen from his breath, it was so meanlyharsh, cruel, cold. As I was thawing out next to my dead horse the whisperings, anger, fear and pain of 10 thousand petrified miners was the heat that saved my life. And this time I heard a voice and listened, because this voice spoke through the mouth of a 123-year-old dead coalminer’s wife. Her rough and workworn hands said everything need be said. She covered me with 2 worn quilts built a fire and returned to her husband who was 123 years, half petrified, dead.