Anis Shivani

Stakhanov

Stakhanov (appeared in North American Review)

I stand, nude as a statue, this coal mine
celebrated for what it does not tell
about men of iron, men queued in the line
to seize Stalin’s favor; I will not sell
my steel-clad muscles, my brow of beaten
gold, my mind free of inquisitor’s goods,
to the first bid. My labor will sweeten
whatever stands between the state’s changed moods,
ill and gloomy most of the time, and I
alone in a statue, its inner shell,
a being expelled from time. How proud and high
our heads walking the mine gangplank, farewell
written in our eyes, the night already here,
dead exhaustion the only drug for fear.

Anis Shivani

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