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The 2River View 15.4 (Summer 2011)
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Kip Knott

Laborers

Like two buried miners, our bodies
pull heat from one another,
from rivers of flame continents
float upon. We sleep and burn,

sleep and burn until we lie beneath
the cinders of our lives,
out of breath, out of the cold light
the moon poured over our fire.

The Miner's Dream from Underground

The hill stands on pillars of bone.
Below, coal seams ribbon like fuses
burning the shadow of fire across Ohio.
Children tell stories of poking the ground
with sticks to free genies of steam,
coal glowing from holes
like the eyes of deer in moonlight.
Only the oldest fathers know
what fire lives in the belly of the world.

* * *

In winter, the hill holds no snow.
Deer settle on exposed rock for warmth
at night and drink from the sulfur
creek that refuses to freeze. This morning,
I found the carcass of doe in the yellow water,
her throat bloody and steaming.

* * *

All smoke and coal dust, the miner wanders
fiery caverns as I lie atop his warm grave.
When I was a child, I never knew the heat
against my back was a dream of light.

Kip Knott is the author of three poetry chapbooks: The Weight of Smoke (Bottom Dog Press), Everyday Elegies (Pudding House), and Whisper Gallery (Mudlark). contact

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