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In These Black Hills You Need More Than Gold

Black from soot, from plague, from naked

tears hung from nooses on the banister of Santiago’s abandoned

church. Even when the mountain moans, breathes

a heavy drawl, a breeze trembling pleated

lady skirts, lifting your arms to air

your pits’ soiled, dark stains,

there is no calm. Train

wheels pound earth, groans

as an engineer switches

brakes and metal grates


our lullaby. Claw

at soil, shirt

clinging to small brown muscles, twitching

with each clink-clank of pick spearing

into stone. And each sigh swells

with the Santa Ana, fans us an arid kiss

shrouding our necks like a whore.

Spit black into rock and it swallows

dirty rain, neither of us has seen a shining sea

in three years. Lean against my pick-

handle and examine my manifested

destiny, yearning for the old world and a better taste

than burning coal. The train ignites and I split

into rock. Blisters dribble blood onto sun-

dried stones, color to my landscape.

Recommend0 Simily SnapsPublished in Poetry