Cappella Sistina

by David Bond

The night Floyd Massie took me underground
into a float-dust chaos and the scattered dice

of coal chunks we swerved to miss, on south to
double-cribbed No. 2 Entry where he worked

as a bolter, I remember the shadows from our
cap lamps discoing on the gray shale roof,

flickering across fossils of ferns and giant horse-
tails, a black mosaic of drowned forest.

Thirty years past and I recall Floyd’s tedious
joke about the dull bits being as sharp as me;

I remember “Too much damned torque!”
And I cannot forget his upcast bearded face,

arms lifted against the falling kettle bottom,
like God trying to separate light from darkness.

DAVID BOND has published recent work in the anthology Hurricane Blues and the journals Big Muddy, Valparaiso Poetry Review, The Cape Rock and Crab Orchard Review. In 2006, he was a MacDowell Colony Fellow, and he has twice been a finalist in The Poetry Center of Chicago’s Annual Juried Reading. He lives in Carbondale, where he claims inspiration from the beauty of the Shawnee National Forest. He works at Southern Illinois University as a Librarian.