Glassworks Hot Room as Pentecostal Church

Wheeling, West Virginia

In the hot room,
while the finishing men
shape glass with pucellas
and shears, the snapper boy

tongs the gathers—jars,
jugs, flasks, and bottles—
into the glory hole,
that they may reheat,

soften, be carried by him
to the sweat-slick finishers,
their necks and lips to be
flared and grooved. He stares

into the glory-flames, dizzies
and cries out: there’s a hot
room in the flames, smaller
than his, but brighter, molten,

wavering, the finishers singing
to the glass, and a bent boy
with tongs, reaching for him
as he sways.

William Kelley Woolfitt is the author of two books of poetry, Beauty Strip (Texas Review Press, 2014) and Charles of the Desert (Paraclete Press, 2015). He teaches creative writing and literature at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee.

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