POV of a 14 year old mill girl who works at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory where she spends more than 12 hours at a time sewing shirtwaists for a low wage.
It's late afternoon.
Work's almost done.
I am shutting off my sewing machine,
when I hear the cry.
It's repeated several times.
I see the blaze,
it's on the other end of the floor.
We all rush for the doors.
I reach them first.
They are locked.
I can feel the heat
from the flames.
I start sweating.
My hair sticks to the back of my neck.
I can't breathe.
Coughing, I fall to my knees.
I feel a draft of cold, clean air.
I crawl towards it.
That air is my beacon of hope.
My skin is getting burned.
I can feel the pain as the flames lick at it,
turning it black.
I'm only 14.
It's too early for me to die.
But, I know deep in my heart
I won't survive to see tomorrow.
I find the source of the draft.
It's an open window.
I see other girls jump to their death,
their hair and clothes burning.
Should I too?
Should I not?
My hair and clothes are in flames now.
I close my eyes, ignoring the searing pain.
If I jump,
my family will have a body to bury.
If I don't, they'll have nothing.
Yes, I will do it for them.
I will jump.
I think of my little sister.
I love you so much Edeith.
I am so sorry.
I jump out of the window.
A/N: This poem describes the scene when the top three floors of the Asch Building go up in flames. I think it is kind of ironic that the building is called the Asch (pronounced ash) building, and it fuled one of the worst factory fires ever. Panicked workers try to find a way out. The doors are locked. The hundreds of workers have no choice but to jump out of the windows. A lot of them died, except for the ones on the top floor, they went to the roof, and were helped via ladder to the next roof over.
This took place in 1911, in New York City, USA.