©2019 by Jack A. Urquhart
Stainless steel was the medium he favored,
forever hard and utilitarian—
the price my father paid
to make his way in the world.
And sometimes, small in his shadow,
I would watch from a distance,
as he slipped on his helmet,
as he brought fire to bear on metal,
his white-hot will cutting, bending,
shaping till a thing was forged in his image—
made to bear the weight
of heavy things.
“Don’t look at the arc flash!”
my father would admonish
when he noticed me watching.
“It will destroy your vision,” he said,
handing me thick, dark goggles
fashioned after his own.
Perhaps he thought I’d be protected
hidden behind impenetrable glass,
safe from the showering sparks
that burn and blind.
Then, turning once again,
He would take up the task,
hard, flexed, beautiful in the heat,
never noticing when, overcome by the sight,
I would sneak an unprotected glance,
too awed by his brilliance
to resist the light.