orlo

Toward Xenon

Madison, South Dakota; Issue #34

by Justin Blessinger

for my father

Clayton strikes the rod to steel;
a blinding arc of buzzing, wicked blue
lights the workshop,
fusing bolt to chalybeous plate to looping rod puddle.
His black glass face reflects the plasma bolt,
his hammer near to hand
shattering flux.

A Ford bidirectional tractor hunkers behind him,
its bucket bowed in submission
waiting for Clayton’s next endowment
never adornment;
its cerulean paint has washed.

Insulation, silver-backed, keeps Montana’s winter out,
the blue is much softer out there, on the drifts,
absorbing the cold moon
and colder stars
Someone’s old engine oil burns above him
in a red furnace he pulled from the county junkyard
and made it breathe again.

That cobalt night,
bounding in ruts of the dirt road,
a cottontail ignites
in the twinkle of his eye
and his Chevy pickup’s noble headlamps
when he turns toward the house
and thick sleep.

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