Poem in Which They Mine the Sun

They scratch the sun from the ridge
like coal, like scrub-pine knots, like the roof
of Sloan’s Garage, the alley that burns
into a police car, pigeons that saunter
across this small grease pit where you trap them.

Your jacket smolders. It’s like most of the sky
pushed from orbit. It talks to you, then me,
like a news anchor witnessing a camera exploding.

You say your grampa who never mined coal
has black lung, has sciatica, bird-flu, weasels
in his ears. They scratch him out of the ground
to tell you. They scratch us out of the ground
to watch the sun roll backwards like a yellow eye
sucked from an egg.

Clyde Kessler

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