Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Living with Hephaestus

Living with Hephaestus
by Peg Bresnahan

Some say we attract
our nightmares,
like now, when I know
my husband is about to lift
part of a sculpture
weighing one hundred pounds.

Absurd to cheer him on
when I see what it takes
to create the shapes
blazing his mind.
Day after day, sparks
cascade around him
until the image behind his eyes
bends to a form I can touch.

I don’t know if it’s watching
the hoist lift and swing
great sheets of steel over his head,
or if it’s the fire I fear most. 
The time he walked through our door
face black, holes burned
through the three layers of clothing
his leather apron didn’t shield
when they caught the live end
of the welding torch.

He lowers his helmet
and strikes an arc.
Don’t look, he warns,
it can blind you.
A piece of sun tears loose
and the flame hisses
hunting for contact.

~ first published in Southern Poetry Review