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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

No One Could Hear Me…

Crandall Canyon Mine, Utah: 1500 Feet Under
It’s been a week since the mine caved in
Then the earth shook as it never did before
Like a thunderous applause for six
Sacrificial lives.

(That’s why the mine owner said it was
A seismic activity. An earthquake’s fault!
Why couldn’t they believe that?)

Then there was darkness… jet-black darkness.
And silence… and deafening stillness.
Not a final breath. Not a final moan.
Not a final goodbye to a friend or a foe.

Days went by and slowly I melted
With the cold, damp earth. And my spirit soared
Above the rubble where the digging hadn’t stopped
The prayer vigil and the fasting
The whole town awaiting…
“It’s all right.” I told them. “It’s all over.”
But no one could hear me.
Not even myself…

So northward I went
In Minnesota to eavesdrop
For they had sacrificial lives, too,
For the murky Great Mississippi though
From the I-35 bridge that collapsed on the 2nd.
But rescue operations were hampered
By thunderstorms they said.
I wished the missing had melted
Their bodies in the sand instead…
I wished I could whisper in their ears:
“On August 6th…”

So eastward I went
For I heard there was chaos in New York
When a tornado and torrential rains hit on the 8th
And streets and subways were flooded.
I wonder how much walking they did that day
To get home and curse their pain and the weather?
Did they know about the six miners of Utah?

So southward I went
To see the rest of this great land
But I just couldn’t take the heat wave
Nor the onslaught of murderous drought on the crops.
Had the earth forgotten hurricane season was coming?
Oops! My bad! I wished I could stop my mouth.
Katrina victims were still floating!
What was I thinking?
Drought or flood. Trapped in water or underground
Not anyone wants that.

But who are we to choose
Though we’re from the land of the free?
We take what is given. We pay our dues.
As we build and destroy, or destroy and build
Like when we destroyed the ground
And built the mine. For crushed stone,
Copper, cement, sand and gravel, gold,
Aluminum, iron ore, metals, salt, phosphate rock?
To quench our thirst to build and destroy.
And destroy and build…

Oh, well. Life goes on. And you watched
The Perseid meteor until dawn today?
Did you not?

Have you heard about the six Utah miners?
“Anyone out there? Hello.” I called.
But no one could hear me.
Not even myself…

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