View of Toledo


after El Greco

My eyes the two burnt holes in the blanket,
They’d joke, having waked me

When it was time to go, leaving my aunt’s
For the drive back home,

Past the shadowy hulks of factories,
The trowel-shaped city that rose into the night.

Beacons on the skyscrapers hovered,
The river’s black mirror jeweled with their lights.

I’d watch for the blast furnaces at J&L
Towering above the cloud-cover smoke,

For slag to spill like a meteor shower
Down its dark invisible hills.

Watch as the exotic crosses loomed into view
On top of the Byzantine church.

The sign for Homestead floated overhead,
And then a sky as wide as the river valley

Where we crossed over water
And passed between the rooftops of U.S. Steel—

The casting sheds I would enter in turn,
Nights like fiery machinery,

Working in the darkness in a world of flame,
Ladles the Dippers above me.