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Occupational Hazards by Aaron D. Wiegert

The Electrician latches his lunch pail
wipes the crumbs from his beard
and carries in his tools

Downstairs, he finds the breaker box
with a flashlight between his teeth
and takes a screwdriver from his belt


He’s knocked back-down-out
aglow in the dark
smoldering on the cement.

An accordion pump fills in
for his lungs as his heart was restarted
an intravenous warmth
rides the patter of feet
Coming in, going out.

In the mirror he comes to
face his face, bare
as a shell-shucked turtle,
The Doctor says
the circuits were wired backwards.

In the bath the Nurse asks
If it hurts, he shakes
his naked head as waves
swallow the ground nerves

Rainbows on soap bubbles,
The rough sponge’s scratch
His skin flakes peeling
Like lead paint

the pink of uncooked meat
the white of fat’s rind,
a vein in his head swells
as he ask for a phone
to call in for his shift

The Nurse squeezes the dead
nails of his hands and shakes
her head in apology:

She didn’t mean to laugh.