They worked him ’til his fingernails turned mulberry,
Peeling from their beds like autumn petals.
They used new therapies to fix his crumpled distals,
Alloyed his carpals with an icy clutch of metals.
But soon after, his miner’s arms collapsed –
Each ulna splintered like an ocean’s daughter-streams.
And so they weaved his alabaster frame of bones
With endless reams of printed black graphene –
Light as an iron feather.
And then his proud back shortly shattered inward:
Stiff lumbar folding flat
Under the mass of sleepless shifts.
They replaced his vertebrae with hydraulic pistons,
And now his motors dip and pump and bulge and blow and hiss,
Belching oily vapours with every sinuous hitch.
And from his torn knees up to the ceramic bowl of his cracked hips,
Down the sturdy femurs of his thighs, he is ripped and he is split.
Every living bit of him is ground to dust now.
His strength is quit.
His aching body rusts now.
And lastly, they remade his ribs a steel cage.
And where a heart once was – is now a fuming engine.
It beats as blackly as his ragged lungs once did –
Pounding in its cell for our attention.
The diamond mines dismantled this workman’s body.
Its operators traded pennies for his youth.
Still, the workman’s mind remains his property; it brims privately with his untold truth.
About The Author
Kurt Van Ristell is an author from London, who writes because travel is simply too expensive.
Bandit Fiction is an entirely not-for-profit organisation ran by passionate volunteers. We do our best to keep costs low, but we rely on the support of our readers and followers to be able to do what we do. The best way to support us is by purchasing one of our back issues. All issues are ‘pay what you want’, and all money goes directly towards paying operational costs.