The Lightning Field
Thin, chill air goes slack around you
punchy from the drubbing
it took, begging a moment
of silence to absorb the blow
and all that rain
a real gully washer
aligning toppled right angles
into a glittering cube, raw
from a good scrubbing
shedding curtains of water flush
with grit, spent casings from an epic
shelling, replacing all your memories
of frail veiny lightning. 
Fate tempted and humbled, sweep into
The Lightning Field, nervy and brash
on the margins, the brass leaking
away the deeper in you go
polished stainless steel sentinels
at intervals of 220 feet
the silent roar of 400 slender mirrors
piercing, tapered points patiently
describing a plane but you’re not listening:
smeared by a blood red sun, engulfed
in a fired cathedral, spires set aflame.

A shoulder of pure clay cut with runnels
set to music, round nimble notes, fat
plucked chords sustained in eternal cascade
to the concertina of the spooling
Manistee above Red Bridge, blue blazes
worn smartly by these still, mute sentinels   
their averted gaze twining into
graceful arches that usher us from one
moment to the next, fine capillary
weave stretched tight over ribs of stabbing light
that illuminate slick kaolin veins
a surgical tent to conceal rending
fingers we plunge into the wound, smearing
our faces, the trees thrilling to our howls.

Dave Hardin is a Michigan poet and artist.  His poems have appeared in 3 Quarks Daily, The Prague Review, Drunken Boat, Epigraph Magazine, Loose Change, ARDOR, The Detroit Metro Times and others.   He contributes to Scrum,, a blog of poetry and satire.  Visual work is on display at  In 2012 he self-published A Ruinous Thirst, a collection of poems.   Contact him at or