Days Since Last Accident

There used to be an orange
glow in the sky, accompanied
by a din of pounding
hammers, tooting whistles,
and rumbling trains. Rats emerged
from the depths of the mill
as big as small dogs, forming
packs, scrounging for
food. The sign on the
bridge over Wilson Avenue
My grandpa walked under it.
He molded bars and shells, creating
the teeth of our nation. I
would sit on my porch
on Jackson Street, knowing
Grandpa made the light by
feeding pieces of soul
and flesh into the furnace.
At the end of shift, parched, Grandpa
walked under the sign again.
One day, he knew if
he kept coming back, there
would be no more pieces
left, so he quit—
now, the light in the sky
is gone. Nothing
can ever replace it.
Even the
rats have abandoned
us for fresh

:: Joe Gorman, in Mahoning Valley Poetry: An Anthology (1993)

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