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The Miner Longs for Sleep

A man is his own bird
testing the air
in the caged sleep of miners:
the long descent into night,
the bare bulbs lighting tunnels,
the lungs hazed with dust.

Rising depends on so many chances:
the lift’s chain, the roof’s repose,
chances we take
in the immense silence between blasts
and the tremor that travels
through the bedrock and seam.