The Hole. The Haunches. The Concrete.

Your people say to my people.

Go down that hole and dig the coal.

Sit on your haunches and milk those cows.

Stand on this cold slab of concrete and run this machine for eight hours.

And so we do.

But what unnerves you, what disquiets you, what fills you with fear is that we do this without complaint.

We know who we are.

We know we can dig that coal. We know we can milk those cows. We know we can stand our post and run this machine.

Our fathers did it. Their fathers did it. We can do it. Our mothers set their jaws and willed us to finish without so much as a whimper.

What do we have to show for our labors? A pile of coal and a handful of blisters. Two and a half gallons of milk covered in a wispy froth. A paycheck where a man with green eye shades multiplied the minimum wage times eight.

Observed with a stoic distance. Our eyes on a distant horizon. Unbent. Unbroken. Unbowed.

That fear rising in your gullet is because you can’t understand how strong we are. We don’t know how strong we are. We’ve never come close to the bottom or the limit. It may not even exist.

So, go ahead. Tell us to go down that hole. Summon what’s left of your dignity and see what happens. See what happens.

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