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Cleaning out the shaker gears, Elyria Foundry, Elyria, Ohio 1971.

I'd done my year in the green place where I'd found myself in a dark hole or two in the ground among machines that could crush your skull, though this is before I'd read Dante. New on the job so they sent me down into the hole below the huge shaker that broke loose black sand from castings of diesel engine motor blocks big as whales, beautiful things like you might dream in a dream of order in a world that otherwise spits hot metal into your face. Ten steps down I found the tunnel. I found the first dim red light and crawled into the first room of gears that were quiet now but seemed to shimmer or seemed somehow about to move. I did not want to be among them, to step between them, to sweep black sand and chipped gray iron away, but I crawled to the next red light visible through black air like a ship's light to the next room of gears. Above me the hate of no reason was born in the imaginations of the heavy bodied dark souled men who plotted briefly then blasted the silence of my tunnel with the sudden sharp whine of gear motors kicking in, shattering my ears the instant I'd lifted my legs away. How did they know.
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Author:Weigl, Bruce
Publication:The American Poetry Review
Date:Jan 1, 1993
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