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Boots

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SHOELESS WOMAN MINE WORKER

The Museum opens. Another day at Geevor Tin Mine,
World Heritage. In the past, women work here,
Under the tag “Bal Maidens…”
A few begin to tell of their living. Others are lost…
Women who last a few years, at the surface of the mine –
In ore-dressing work – stone-breaking, gut-breaking work,
From-the-darkness work; at the picking belt, lifting granite,
Attending shaking tables, signing everyday meanings
Through water and spar; decades of crushing, stamping, Buddling to sever
particles…years of barrows, brooms… Wet-earth work… and one Bal Maiden is
ending work, Leaves her shoes, dried out –
Now in Geevor’s glass shelf. All that’s left of her:
No personal name to wave, no happy report to share,
Except her working shoes, a proud account,
An unwritten obituary of woman’s presence
Enduring in our separate yet touching lives.

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