Diane Kendig



North Wall Detail

REEDURBAN, OHIO

 

The boom of my youth wakes me now
as it didn’t then, the hammer I recognized
later as “the blunt indefatigable fact.”
The fact is that I have returned
in my indeterminate age to this region
of stainless steel and roller bearings,
Timken’s cylindrical, tapered, spherical,
thrust and needle roller bearings.
The poet was right too: it is not a heart,
“It’s the Drop Forge Plant, honey,”
my father answered when I asked,
and much later I learned the forge
drops a die, larger but like the die
that took my grandfather’s thumb,
and only one die is needed
to finish off any part. Now I know too
that the extra space between dies
is called “the flash,” which is what
it has all gone by in, as other sounds
of my youth, too: its particular rock and roll
of WHBC-AM, along with the train
passing behind our high school,
forcing the band to pause in its halftime show,
our teachers to wait mid-sentence
for the loud rush to finish. I recall
Mr. Chiudioni’s voice intoning a mole:
“Six point oh two”— then the stay,
(the wheel repeating,
SIX point OH two, SIX point OH two),
then “times ten to the twenty third.”
I do not know what a mole is, but its
trochees and iambs, its one
anapest sound in me as the whistle
my engineer grandfather
pulled to wave to Grandma
as he passed through town at seven a.m.,
two longs and a short.
“Listen,” she would say to me,
over our Wheat Chex, “Listen.”

 

Author Biography

Diane Kendig’s recent chapbook of poetry is The Places We Find Ourselves (Finishing Line). Her poems and essays may also be found in J Journal, Minnesota Review, qarrtsiluni, and Poemeleon, among others. A recipient of two OAC Fellowships in Poetry and a Fulbright lectureship in translation, Diane has recently moved from Boston to Canton, Ohio, living in the house her father built when he came home from WWII.

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