I dig too

I work with fellow men. They are quiet. They were fat, they were powerful, but now they are thin and they are digging.

There is no complaint. Complaints mean the hospital.

It is cold, the ground is hard, the hole is growing. My shovel is not the best, but it is mine. I will fight to keep it.

It is risky just to raise one’s eyes above one’s work, but I have to watch that man. He is a friend of mine. Once I was denied bread, and he shared. That kept me alive. I owe him my life.

I would dig for him, but he is proud. He would not let me; that is right.

They tell us it is for a railroad line, they say for a building. It does not matter, for we are made to dig always, breaking the earth like farming, raising a crop of steel.

The end is near for my friend. I love him like a brother though I know not his name. The hole yawns.

He falters, he falls! I reach for him, I am slapped down by a booted fist! Through a face in mud I watch my friend fall.

Requiescat in pace, my friend. I shall dig beside you anon.

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