Moriah Erickson, 9/26/2010

Current Occupation: respiratory therapist
Former Occupation: funeral home hairdresser
Contact Information: Moriah Erickson currently works as a respiratory therapist in Duluth, MN, where she lives with her spouse, six and a half children and two obnoxious dogs. She was previously employed as a hairdresser at a funeral home. Her hobbies include laundry and dishes, and she would like to hear from anyone interested in real poetry.


Sago Wives

We got the call before CNN
and Fox News. We arrived
at the mouth of the mine
before this became a “national
disaster.” We stood, helpless, idle,
waiting in the January cold, our kids,
still high on Christmas break
tucked in sleeping, half-awake neighbors
sit at our kitchen table or
doze in our recliners.

Julie Lewis, hysterical, is convinced
David is dead. She is sobbing
and unable to talk, her cheeks raw
from the thunderstorm air.
Mary tries to comfort her,
wrapping her fat, motherly arm
around Julie’s shaking shoulders,
but can’t stand the feel of her
for long.
For us there is no comfort.
We wait. Someone ties ribbons
to the fence, one for each
of our men.
Rescuers go in, come out coughing,
their oxygen masks making them a cross
between elephants and aliens.
The gas is thick. TV cameras arrive
in vans. They shine bright lights
on the entrance to the mine
but don’t go in.
We stand in the shadows, Julie still
sobbing. We hug each other
and pray and know that in the end
no one will tie ribbons to anything for us,
for our kids. We will fight
insurance companies and the mine
and come out worse off than we went in.
We will miss you, boys, thunder cracks.
A beam breaks, rain pummels us.
We are bruised, alone.
We cannot turn away as an ore cart
emerges, no urgency in its empty rattle.

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