Drinking on the Job

Drinking on the Job
Clyde Kessler

I’m almost drunk in a coal mine
and it feels like an empty sky inside
wearing midnight for a helmet lamp.
Jackie Betkin squeaks like a bat
beside me. Larry Crowley is waving
his hands, and nobody can see him.
Oh, we know we violate all safety.
Just like the boss, just like inspectors.
Oh, we know the coal veins mock us.
Maybe there’s a fuse, maybe the auger
gouges past blind rock. Sunlight keeps
dragging heaven off from where we are.
We know this. So Larry drums the wall.
Jackie yells. I just wish this whiskey
didn’t dribble down my chin, such waste.

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