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taconite conveyor

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Message e b bortz
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north of hibbing minnesota 1977

poured into the
pellet storage bins
which led down
to the railroad cars
pointing toward
the superior wisconsin
iron ore depot
to be loaded
onto the iron ore boats
for buffalo cleveland
hamilton ontario
and more

but the end of the conveyor
was also a beginning
of the wilderness
if you were looking north
poplar tamarack white birch
as far as you could see
some far flung lakes
and if your eyes
stayed steady at sunrise
you might see
grey wolf
blue heron for sure
black bear if you were lucky

the pellets flowed continuously
kicking up dust outside
the conveyor shields
a 66% iron composition
like a fixed recipe
for the steel mills
to the south
natural ore deposits
and thousands
of hungry
underground miners

yet the conveyor spoke
like a shill
the natural world
did its best to cover
its ears
& if there was a bottom line
you always knew
were the eternal witness
& thus accountable

--- e b bortz


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Poems, essays, and stories by e b bortz have been published widely.
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