Dark Sprout by Brian Frus // Jacksonville University Glass Department

I was grateful
for the air conditioning
on the ride to the studio,
already alight with adrenaline
in anticipation of what fires might await.

Here is the professor’s desk,
holding class in cauldrons of molten glass.
Here is where sorcerers clothed in breathable cotton
wield glowing gazing balls at staff length. Jacks scrape

against hardening glass; my fumbling touch
is not hard enough or too much, ever adjusting
under the constant influx of instruction.

I listen, spidering my fingers
along a rolling rod, contemplating form. Aesthetic.
I grab at my glass arbitrarily in search of the organic
but this is not my medium.

I prefer the stool off to the side,
guzzling water, far enough away from alchemy
but not out of the heat. Sweat drips

yet masters never lose their grip, smoothing shapes
with hands of aged newspaper.

Any set of practiced hands
is sure to capture my glance
and from yours I can’t look away.
What is it that you are made of?

This is your every day,
a constant chosen crucible.
You stand fearlessly
before the murmuring bellies
of dragons. I never knew

you to be so in tune, I never knew
the ripples of gleaming forearms moving fluid
in the flowing waves of energy.

In between flashes of heat
the master gaffer gathers laughter
and swings the rod in circles
as preconceived perceptions
slowly soften in the fire.