The forgotten

Rails blistered by age and

rust

Sweat and thirst hidden in cracks,

splitting

lumber bolted down with gasps 

for

air, blinding sun paid for 

with

broken spirits and aces up bosses

sleeves.

 

Mildewed tents, dysentery in

drinking 

water ladles, dripping much as

rain

off picks and shovels, faces

hardened

Hands calloused from ethnic

ranking

Backs branded by grimaced

looks.

 

Constant digging, like holes to hell

On 

leads to prevent workers from falling

into 

pits, hot air same as heat in drafty

tenement

buildings, tenement camps… nomads

in

search of greener grass on other side of the

tracks.

 

Random diseases ran through canvas

and 

rope, much as a stray, rabid animal

Immigrants 

rattling nondenominational crosses

to

ward them off, nonetheless, fever and

blisters

ensued, like landlords pounding on old

doors.

 

Ailments, starvation and death washed

over

ethnicity as floods of tics, sucking 

the 

life out of them… for each railroad

tie

laid, a whole or part of their existence 

lay

beneath in a grave, a spike, the

headstone.

 

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