The History of All Things By D. A. Wright
August 11, 2014 Comments Off on The History of All Things By D. A. Wright
“We belong to the history of all things,” he said and then he put down the hammer, the grooves in the steel deep and narrow, a clockwork of concentric rings spiraling to the black tooth, how we marveled at the craft, the magic of it, so effortless with fire tongs and burning blade in such old wise hands, we the blood refugees of a forgotten time, we the slaves of the shadow glass, nameless orphans in the iron belly of the great machine. The old man’s stories were cold comfort in the infernal heat of the forge, how it came to be, how we’d given up the daylight, soft in its touch, brilliant in its textures, rain-swept at dawn’s break under the pillars of scion, the crop circles of the city ruins, clear-cut by mighty scythe, by the giants of men, as if killing were the same as conquest. “Once the earth breathed,” the old man said, and all things breathed with it, sleeping, breathing, dreaming, breathing, waking, breathing, with an exalted sigh out to the heart-heavy world, the canopy of life, how deep in its roots, how deep the grooves in the worm-tilled soil, snaking its history, loves and losses, triumphs and tragedies, and all the quiet moments of stillness lost in the wonder, down digging for the center, for the origin of time and its meaning.
“And who are we?” asked the wind from the bellow gills, asked the fire mouth of the pit, for we had no tongues to speak. “No one,” the old man replied, wrenching the crank. The builders of the titan breathers, releasing the pincers, releasing the steam, someday perhaps. The real question is not who we are but what is this? He lifted a greasy gear from scrap-heap pile, oil blood dripping, the earth mined, molten metal cooled and chiseled, part wheel, part thing, a reminder of where we’d come from, how far we’d come, a puzzle piece ready to be fitted. We watched in the soft dying light through the porthole windows, bolted and sealed to the scorched sky outside, the wrinkled hands slotting the gear on the iron spike in the forever firelight of the flames. He struck the hammer down on the tooth and the gears began to turn.
© 2014 D. A. Wright
D. A. Wright is a Brooklyn-based writer, the author of the absurdist novel Arbitrary Nonsense and co-founder of Exit Strata, a literary/art magazine. http://www.blackwellnotebook.blogspot.com