Iron City
Kerry James Evans

Iron City

There, beside the cotton gin,
squats the fattest turkey buzzard in Georgia,
one wing either broken or certain,
elbow bent like our world
before logic descended from heaven
on a fiery cloud: fire that the ancients
deified with monuments—
triangles raised upon squares
in valleys where the dead
still rise when the river swells.
Fire that the welder masters with a torch,
fashioning entire cities of iron,
the fields around him still raw
from the picking, railroads
strung like licorice over a fallen ladder.
The tracks hardly rattle a word.
Poison sumac blushes while a tractor
pulls a plow through clay, and that
—that hammer you just heard?
That was an anvil giving way.

Kerry James Evans

is the author of Bangalore (Copper Canyon Press). He lives in Tallahassee, Florida.