Steel, a prose poem by @EvryManJac

©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.

About jaurquhart

Jack Andrew Urquhart was born in the American South. Following undergraduate work at the University of Florida, Gainesville, he taught in Florida's public schools. He earned a Master of Arts degree in English, Creative Writing, from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he was the winner of the Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Award for Fiction (1991). His work has appeared online at Clapboard House Literary Journal, Crazyhorse Literary Journal, and Standards: The International Journal of Multicultural Studies. He is the author of So They Say, a collection of self-contained, inter-connected stories and the short story, They Say You Can Stop Yourself Breathing. Formerly a writing instructor at the University of Colorado’s Writing Program, Mr. Urquhart was, until 2010, a senior analyst for the Judicial Branch of California. He resides in southern California.
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