Joachim, the bronze worker,
filled our nights with molten light.
Clay molds glowed red
from liquid bronze poured
through tunnels left by drained wax.
All afternoon, Joachim had turned
the bellows blowing air onto the fire,
while green smoke rose
from melted zinc and copper:
copper from electric wires,
zinc from bicycle fenders.
I took my turn at the wheel
when he filled the kiln with charcoal
to replace it in an hour.
The prize was staying awake to watch
bronze turn from red to gold
at arm’s length,
and from that cup of metal,
the clay forms burst with color.


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