My grandfather worked the coal mines of Wales
so I dig the city’s underground, the conduits and tunnels.
Every day I don my stiff dry uniform and ride
the slow elevator down the shafts of the Upper East Side.
How little does the city know what goes on
among the wires, the pipes, the gunmetal caissons.
The damp gets in your bones and in your lungs
but the paths we make, ease the upper way among
the clamor and when work is done, these warrens become
the silent still catacombs below the city’s high.
Beneath the noise, the traffic, buildings that scrape the sky
the burrows make the neurons on which the city relies.
And thanks to Local Union 147 when my shift is done,
I sit up on my roof in the stout bright Brooklyn sun.