But the underground railroad did not run on coal fires.
You can’t imagine how many boasting thick
necks and tense arms and gold shields will give
their lives and labors,
and demand yours,
to tend this engine’s flame
you can’t imagine how many little
boys and girls were raised to wield
the shovel, and stay up
through the night battling
monsters under the bed,
to keep the fires fed
you can’t imagine how many wearing blank
eyes and blunt mouths stand ready, in formation
to pull you, us, one by one,
to the engine and lay your body,
in the flame when the coal runs low
you can’t imagine. And yet it still won’t be enough.
They may not know it, but they still won’t be enough.
The underground railroad does not run on coal fires.