Arts & Culture

Graveyard Dredge

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It’s hard to think now, how men with their

shovelfuls and boatloads and sideroads mixed

the best color, the good rock, the pay streak, the bedrock.

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Get a good look at shafts and rigs and steel hammers slamming

below the camp, beavers damming.

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Get a good look at 8 square meters of tailing piles

men febrile and fevered, for miles

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filling boxes with tools to reshape iron and wood

boxes of household and

grub, and wide metal tubs

and the women lugging

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ladles and bowls, stoking wood-burning stoves.

They hauled anything they did not fear to lose, except

fingers and toes,

a man’s body sliced in half

under pressure and hose.

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Dead men, like dozers

driving steam into frozen muck.

Get a good look at men, black-faced with grease

skin drawn tight against bone

scarred by an iron bucket’s icy stones.

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The dredge monster is asleep now

all rust and bones.

So much required to pursue their desire

this great force, gold, like a god,

riches flowed.

Women drank mint tea from thin rimmed cups

and men, with their restless hands and drunk injury

pierced the ground and staked fortunes,

PAID IN FULL

with their blood.

 

 

Poem by Monica Devine

Categories: Arts & Culture

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