See the Dead Man

by Pam Anderson

See the dead man rising from the street    rising
with the steam from below.  He carries
his property on his frame    his flesh hangs
from safety pins fastened to muscle
that is fastened to bone.

The sole from his shoe parts
and sucks in air.  He sucks in air
through the space in his mouth.  His open jaw
reminds me of the blast furnace
in Republic Steel’s Hot Strip Finishing; 52” Floor.
It is an immeasurable red hole.

For 35 years, my father worked shifts there.
The dead man standing could be my father
his thin hair is gray, and the hot metal dust
has etched vertical lines down
his face. His squinting eyes fill and wash
with the emptiness of an abandoned mill.

Now    this man is almost a free man.
Like the rusted steel girders that puncture
the blue of the sky, only the slimmest
of tendons hold his swinging body
to the line of existence.

Pamela R. Anderson’s poetry and book reviews have appeared in the Barn Owl Review, Whiskey Island Press, Hobble Creek Review, Epitome, Penguin Review and elsewhere. Her poem “My Brother’s Coat: January 1943” was recently recognized as a winner in The Association of Writers & Writing Programs Intro Journals Project and will be published in Controlled Burn. A graduate of Hiram College and Kent State University, she currently is a master’s candidate in the NEOMFA program and, during the day, works at 89.7 WKSU-FM, Kent State University’s public radio station.

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