Elegy for Little Girls
Sloss Furnaces, Birmingham, September 16th, 1963
Jake Adam York

Puncture the mud, the iron pours out
tongue of fire, not a word
stays still but breaks along the channels
pressed in the cast floor’s sand.
Now it’s pigs suckling at the sow’s
iron teats, so many children blind
to the air and world that harden them.
A gift. Dark come on. When
the slag-man pulls the plug, fire
explodes, its violent, molten light 
bathes the irons, a glow on their spines 
like stained glass or twilight fades
on headstones’ crests, row on row on row.

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