By Karen Blomain
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Additional info for Coalseam: Poems from the Anthracite Region
You'd stir till it dissolved good. Then that would be hot, so you'd leave it go. If you put something in there it'd boil. Then you'd get your drippins soft on the stove. You'd put the can till it melted; the drippins had to be melted, and when the lye water was cold, you'd be stirrin and stirrin these drippins, you know, into the lye with a stick. You just kept goin and goin, kept stirrin till that would start to settle. When you saw it start gettin thick already, then you couldn't stir it no more; you'd quit.
COAL TRAIN Jay Parini Three times a night it woke you in middle summer, the Erie Lackawanna, running to the north on thin, loud rails. You could feel it coming a long way off: at first, a tremble in your belly, a wire trilling in your veins, then diesel rising to a froth beneath your skin. You could see the cowcatcher, wide as a mouth and eating ties, the headlight blowing a dust of flies. There was no way to stop it. You lay there, fastened to the tracks Page 24 and waiting, breathing like a bull, your fingers lit at the tips like matches.
I dropped lower, afraid to be seen deformed. And you were just as afraid. I was deformed from your side perhaps unable to bear children but then unable to carry further the bent back, the narrow hips, the cancer of watching a child grow wrong. III You are both vivid when I bleed. I remember the first rolled rags hidden in paper sacks. Page 50 I remember Baba showing me how to wrap the torn white sheets saying in Russian, this is for us. Just for us. The men should never know. I remember you telling me too late what to expect.
Coalseam: Poems from the Anthracite Region by Karen Blomain