Cheryl Stiles


These Fatals

“death blots black out…”
        Gerard Manley Hopkins


A bubble in a mine’s vein meets
spark, flash. A blast of heat
breaks shafts, rains dust—black,
wild widow-making, a wreck.
Profiteers offer more PR,
no problem until these fatals this year.
Near the coast of New Orleans
a platform blows. Flatscreens,
phones fill—damage control,
more dark suits hailing
dark gods,  Coal and Petrol.
And a top kill failing—
debris, dust, more plumes of oil—
marsh-bound, gulf-bound jinn turning.


Note: “these fatals this year” is a phrase used by the CEO of Massey Energy when describing the April 5, 2010 explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia.







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