They carried lanterns in and out of a black smog that never left them. It consumed them, in fact, their lungs, their hands, their families, as they imagined it was their breath to claim. Lied to upon entrance to this land, many left their homes as miners of the same, and found food and means by familiarizing themselves with a different piece of the same body.
They groped in the darkness, into a womb they would soon scrape of its materials. They wore lights on their heads and forgot of the one in their hearts, as they carved and blew up her history, her right to fertilization. They left with her blood on their hands and simply, washed it off. Though, as many remember, it didn’t come off so easily. The black soot of coal seeped into the pores of all—even into the blood—you couldn’t escape her.
It was a rape in simple terms: the mine itself a parallel to the womb of a woman; and the action of stealing her life force, that penetration, abrasiveness to power, that lack of hearing, of feeling, the true nature of the crime.
Yet it wasn’t their design, just their obligation to a stronger force. It isn’t the men that are blamed, but their system.
Coal miners are spiritual lanterns, lost. They are synced with some trace of the Feminine in moving minerals, so intimate with the raw earth; but controlled by the Masculine in its conquering fallacy. They themselves lose their soul and become mechanisms of a system.
But I wonder, if moments before blowing up the earth, they shine their lights and pause? I wonder if they wish not to, if they feel the wrongness that is required of them to be a man?
I wonder if in that moment, they wish they were women, wish they could find that strength to persist—in a world that is just so blatantly wrong, one we are told is good—that they could find the courage to fight in the ways that matter, the ways that are not so obvious and so heavily refuted? For a split second I wonder, do coal miners remember their mothers?