Triangle Shirtwaist factory
We are tinder
one spark to set us all
Strike! Strike! Strike!
We stood and bled on the picket line
with hand lettered signs and no coats,
but we were tinder burst into flame
kept warm by our own words and
the hope that things would get better.
Now my union sisters and I
are trapped in this airless room
with a hundred needles skimming through white lawn.
Today is pay-day,
how much will we be fined for
speaking, stretching, looking out the window?
I want to say, “We are tinder!
Fight back, again, and maybe
this time we can win.”
But our union is finished,
and life is just as it was before:
locked doors, cut pay, dust in the air…
No. Not dust.