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Milk

POSTER DESIGN

This poster features an expressive interpretation of the poem Milk by Diane Gilliam Fisher. The poem tells the story of a family living in the coal camps at the time of the 1920-21 West Virginia Mine Wars. The physical poster was crafted to mimic the strip mined landscape.

This poster was exhibited for Women on the Line, a poetry reading and exhibit to raise awareness about My Sister’s Place, a domestic violence shelter in Southeast Ohio. My Sister’s Place advocates for policies and practices that promote safety and self-determination for persons who are battered and/or abused.


MILK
 
Mama always said, you can’t feed a baby
if there’s no happiness in the milk.  Now, we
didn’t judge a man by what he had, but 
by whether he took his pay home 
before he went to the bar, and Burns Cantrell 
did not.  And he hit Meardie, which wasn’t
no fault of hers, Mama said.  So when she 
had a baby come in strike time, Mama 
bought two tins of canned milk out of the 
dollar a week the company store 
allowed each family for food and sent me 
to set them on Cantrell’s porch every Monday 
after Burns had went up the hill.  Now, 
it was the law among the miners that, come 
a roof fall, you run.  Everybody knowed 
that was how it was.  If you stop and look back 
to see who’s dead or trapped, you 
only make more dead.  Four days after the men 
went back in, there come a bad roof fall, killed 
sixteen.  Daddy was back behind.  Right off 
the rocks broke one backbone and his jaw 
in five places.  Burns Cantrell was up front.  
He heard them rocks begin to fall and he run, 
back into the hole, pitch black and the mountain 
crumbling like the end of the world, 
and carried Daddy out.  He knowed 
he owed my mama for the milk.
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