Excavations: On Richard Buckner’s The Hill by Matthew Woodman
“My boy, wherever you are,
Work for your soul’s sake,
That all the clay of you, all the dross of you,
May yield to the fire of you”
–“Emily Sparks” from Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology
On January 18, 1870, Matthew Woodman, under contract for the burning of ironstone, died when the rope connecting the wagon train snapped, leaving cars to careen down the quarry before toppling near the kiln bank and burying him beneath the grey fleshly cleaved rubble. Such a cloud of dust. Such fractured veins. Such banded ferruginous sediment.
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