Monday, September 14, 2009


Route smooth the groove with acetone and rag
Again, again, again in patient repetition
Until the cloth shows clean, ready for the wire to bed down

Thread the barrel on, snug tight
Too loose, and with each touch it will unwind itself a smidge
Too tight and it will crevasse up its side

Wire, cheerful in unblemished red or blue
Carefully untangle from its coil
Sulphur scratch of match on box,
Insulation flares and crumbles into soot
The file’s gentle rasp revealing
Copper bright

Blind probing for the tiniest of holes
Tink, tink, tink
Not there, not there, not there, there
Escalating whine of metal slide, rising like a query
Answered by the firm thump of
Contact seating in the barrel’s heart

Spring and point popped in, tamped down
Latent energy entrapped by
(breath, relax) the tiniest of screws
Balanced on the driver’s lodestone tip
Gently gyred into place

Arch the blade, tense against the jig
Mimicking the pose it will repeat a thousand times
Presaging the touch
Nudge sluggish glue before the tube’s broad snout
Rolling down the long, cool length of steel
Consummating union

An hour or two of rest

Slip of insulation, final dot of glue
Sandwich on the guard and socket, pad
Choose the grip and snug it on the tang
Briskly tight the nut
Wind the wire
Round and round the socket
One more turn
Snip the dangling end and
(moment of truth)
Plug the tester in

Mazel tov—a weapon’s born
I christen you Red-Grey and tape you
So your colors wave upon your tip
May you have a long and joyous life of battle

And please don’t break tonight…

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