A Reporter from New York Asks Edith Mae Chapman,
Age Nine, What Her daddy Tells her about the Strike
We ain’t to go in the company store, mooning
over peppermint sticks, shaming ourselves like a dog
begging under the table. They cut off our account
but we ain’t no-account. We ain’t to go to school
so’s the company teacher can tell us we are.
The ain’t going to meeting and bow our heads
for the company preacher, who claims it is the meek
will inherit the coal fields, instead of telling
how the mountains will crumble and rocks
rain down like fire upon the heads
of the operators, like it says in the Bible.
We ain’t to talk to no dirtscum scabs
and we ain’t to talk to God. My daddy
is very upset with the Lord.
by Diane Gilliam
from Kettle Bottom
Perguia Press, 2004