Tuesday, April 24, 2018

@uniambic 's "Elegy for the Lehigh Thermometer Works, 1945" #poemaday #NationalPoetryMonth

--from the archives of The Broadkill Review
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Grant Clauser is the author of Necessary Myths (winner of the 2013 Dogfish Head Poetry Prize), The Trouble with Rivers, and the forthcoming books The Magician's Handbook  (PS Books) and Reckless Constellations (Cider Press Review Books). Poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Gargoyle, Painted Bride Quarterly, Tar River Poetry, Southern Poetry Review and others. He also writes about electronics, and fishes and teaches when he can. He blogs occasionally at www.unIambic.com. Twitter: @uniambic  


Elegy for the Lehigh Thermometer Works, 1945

The factory supernova'd
its exit like an A bomb,
lit the Catasauqua night sky
for hours as it fell beam by beam
into ash and asphalt,
heat enough to melt
glass, let mercury run free
like water to the iron works
next door where tank armor
baked till it glowed.
Nana, as a girl,
ran with the others
to the place she made
thermometers for the war,
leveling quicksilver into glass
to tell the quick from the dying.
All as one, a thousand thermometers
burst their keepers' bonds.
When the second floor crashed
into the first, firefighters
gave up and watched it burn,
using just enough water
to keep the row homes safe.
The whole town's fever
rose like a rebellion.  
All the heat they could suffer
in one gold moment
when flames finally reached
the treetops, turned bare limbs
into torches, called every citizen
to witness that enough
was finally enough.

--Grant Clauser

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