We were lighting up the factory,
the hot-white current
striking through wire and steel.
"I'm a hooded assassin," Tubbsy said laughing,
bending over and pulling the trigger.
Some of us were sheathed in thick denim,
some in heavy leather, the sparks
burning small craters into our gloves.
If we weren't careful with our aim
we could run wire clear through our palms.
If we raised our hoods too soon,
we would tear all night from blindness.
We were doing piecework, welding
gussets to tubing, rods to plates,
but who knew what we were making,
how it was adding up, where it was going.
We were trying to keep our verticals true,
one streak of steel melting into another
and cooling into such a ribbed hardness
it was beautiful, Willis said,
pulling his hood off,
running his fingers softly
along the spine of a bead,
something so incidental to all
our fire and arc it took us by surprise
to see it being touched
not knowing exactly
what it was about, only
that it was among us now,
coming and going all night
without regard of who we were,
where it was taking hold.