Heavy. Grey. Steel. I was born into steel. Pittsburgh steel. I grew up steel. Steel went through my father’s hands to put food on our table and clothes on my back. The one steel fiber that holds my family together is stretched taught, like an immobile rubber band, holding our lives together, twisting, twining, braiding, not letting us go completely far from home. I’ve tried. Steel threads of weft in the metal tapestry of our lives. Cold, even, unfeeling, weave. Just like my family. Age lines, life lines, etched on a steel plate. I am fascinated by its textures and surfaces. Bumps. Rhythms. Patterns. Scratches. Marks on metal in various shades of rust. Dust falling on the floor, my black steel toed boots covered in red rust dust. I am fascinated by the sound it makes. This large piece of steel. Bang, bang, clang, twang depending on its depth and bends and the banging instrument I might choose to use. Scrap metal, odd shapes, some perforated, some cracked, found in a heap out back, all fitting together like one of my grandma’s jigsaw puzzles.
Pennsylvania would have suffocated me, tormented me, and eventually killed me if I had even thought to stay.