Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Girl on Fire

I post this every year during the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire commemoration. I wrote it in 2012.
Girl on Fire
Frannie Zellman
In remembrance of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, in Manhattan, Lower East Side -March 25,
The last thing I thought before I jumped
was not that the doors were locked
or that I would die
if I missed the net
and my body splattered
but of the new theater
they were building on Second Avenue
and that spring was coming.
King Lear lost his daughters.
The factory owners lost us.
They pretended in court
that the doors were locked
to prevent theft.
My fiancé put three rocks
on my gravestone
and sobbed.
Fire fought fire –
We were on fire, they said,
in 1909,
when we walked out
and even thugs sent by the bosses
could not quench the fight in us
as our eyes mocked them.
Two years later
after smoke curled
and flames crackled through the doors
and singed our clothes
and hands and faces
and some of us jumped,
100,000 people marched.
One hundred years later
little ones
around the world
chained to their work
as smoke rises
cannot jump.
Their owners do not bother
to lock the doors.
Yet somehow somewhere
a girl takes flight
at those who own the world ,
soars above them
and with eyes on fire
dares the owned souls of the world

No comments:

Post a Comment