Pancoast Mine, 1911

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Inside her gray house up Coppernick hill, my twice-great aunt — rejecting sentimentality like mold flecks on cabbage — once told me they mattered not in the slightest, not to the politicians or mining barons in Scranton and Philadelphia, those seventy-two black-eyed Slovaks, Hungarians, Irish, faces stained by coal dust, a few bony boys of only fourteen, all gagging on poison gas in the depths of Pancoast Mine, dying in pure darkness, and she mentioned a child of six, who’d lost her father, her sole kin in this world, standing silent and apart that rainy morning, uncomprehending … and I often wonder what became of that girl.

Kurt Praschak

A lifelong New Jersey resident, Kurt Praschak owns a degree in English, and has spent his professional career as a public relations counsel, journalist, and freelance writer. His poetry -- which has appeared in Stepping Stones Magazine -- tends toward a breathless, stream-of-consciousness style, because that’s how his brain works. Married with two grown children, Praschak is tormented both by his decades-old fan relationship with the New York Jets and by his 12-pound Jack Russell terrier, who insists on twice-daily walks in even the most abominable weather.

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