Lukens Steel, Coatesville, Pennsylvania

Runner Up: 2020 Sandy Crimmins Poetry Contest


            And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
The steel mill that sprawled across the city
reached toward the sky with the roofs of each wing.
Even on Sundays, the men in torn
khakis and faded t-shirts filed into the mill.

My father was one of them. In Sunday School,
I imagined him standing around, shooting the shit
about recession or politics, waiting for his shift
to begin. Punching in is a ritual of Wonder
Bread and pocket change.
            The body of Christ, given for you.

He made huge sheets of steel, long,
pure, and absolutely silver until
outsourcing turned emblem into epitaph—
Bethlehem Steel’s takeover could not save the place.
Still, the mill stands, decaying, hollow
monument to itself, the rituals abandoned.

The Lord loves the gates of Zion
            more than all the dwellings of Jacob.

Almost no steel is produced anymore;
instead, the silver pours out onto the faded
streets, the concrete walls of the city’s banks,
into the hair of old men.

Kyle Carrozza is a teacher and soccer coach who lives and breathes Coatesville, PA. His journalism has been published in The Coatesville Times, Scarecrow Grin, and The Korean Quarterly. His poetry has appeared in The City Key.