One Hundred Forty Six Lives


United States
34° 9' 41.8932" N, 117° 39' 18.7884" W

Fingers moving through a sea of fabric,
The workday almost through, almost time to go home,
No one expected such havoc.
At the drop of a cigarette, the very air itself caught fire.

All that could go wrong, did.
The ladders too short, the fire escape too rusty, the hoses too weak,
The fire too strong.
No one ever phoned the ninth floor, so many girls left.

Lucky, lucky Mary, she made it out.
But she saw the aftermath.
She saw who was left, so many young lives lost,
so many families left with nothing but doubt.

Eighteen minutes was all it took to change a city, a state, a nation.
A revolution in worker’s safety.
Laws to fix doors, elevators, fire escapes,
Laws to save lives.

One hundred forty six lives in one factory in one mournful city,
They changed our nation.
They saved us.
The memories of one hundred forty six martyrs will always live on.



This piece was lovely, and I thank you for writing it. Not many pay attention to the things workers do get these days, and the way they had gotten them. It was a beautiful piece. I’m curious, did you visit the landmark or just read about it? What made you write this poem?

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