blow-out: 03:30 a.m.

by Cindy Huyser

some mornings at the plant
are quiet.

03:30, Friday night turned to Saturday,
no machines running,
only routines call:
a hydrogen alarm sounds.
red bottles lined up on a wooden rack,
the four feeding the generator
now empty.

he was four months
from retirement that night
when he caught the tipping cylinder,
then stretched for the block valve -
and old sewing came loose;
he clutched the sudden distension
of his belly
up the elevator
on his way to the emergency room
via the shift supervisor

who'd caught a tipping cylinder
years ago as its shoulder smashed
into another    breaking finger bone
in twenty places

instinct saying better this reaction
than a metal balloon
of hydrogen    let loose
bottle becoming rocket

thoughts of flying cylinder
and sparking steel
exploding the early darkness

©1999 Cindy Huyser

Published in the ---- Austin International Poetry Festival Anthology, Di-Verse-City
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