THE CALL TO POUR
“Number nine crew; number nine to pour.
number nine crew: number nine to pour.”
Our melt shop muezzin’s call drones out
thrice daily over the plant P.A. system.
men, sometimes a woman, varied races and ages,
dressed in the Liberty green union jumpsuits,
turn in the direction of furnace number nine
to begin their prayers.
Working the knobs, the dials, the cranes, their devotions
manifest as a golden stream, a waterfall of liquid metal
slowly pouring out into four tall molds.
This time, yield is high—no spills, no blockages.
The ritual is successful, the plant runs smoothly,
the melters return to other tasks,
the giant flatbed freight trucks continue
to arrive and to leave.
The front-office managers, spreadsheet maestros,
see only ticks on a trendline, an
in the tribute submitted to their chieftains—to them,
the glimmer of the waterfall, the liquid light
diving from the crucible in half a perfect parabola,
runs out unnoticed.
from Rattle #61, Fall 2018
Tribute to First Publication
Ryan Thier: “I’m a metallurgist who’s currently living and working in Chicago. I’ve spent time living and working in both central New York and central Illinois as well. Work and relationships factor heavily into most of my poems. I try to find the small magical tidbits that frequently pop up in both of these areas.” ( web)