The Last Day

They also serve who stand and wait.

The billowing steam’s hissing whiteness
Fades, cloud-like into a frost blue sky.
The warning whine of a crane’s siren
Diminishes to nothingness . . .
The yard engine’s forceful grunts
Ease to an unaccustomed quiet.
The black stacks become grotesque obelisks
In a graveyard of rusting remains—
Dedicated to the blood, sweat and tears
Of our fathers, and their fathers.
The echoes of clanging pipe and steel
Are all the sound that’s left
To touch the straining ears
Of those who stand—and wait.

:: Vito R Carchedi, in Mahoning Valley Poetry: An Anthology (1993)

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