Speak Copper  

            - Carla Braidek





I am learning a new language


my body remembers the way copper rings in the sun

the heft of the hammer

the pinch of the vise





select a sheet of copper

the weight is up to you

cut it with tools like scissors

alligator jaws tamed just enough they will only 

take your finger off if you are careless

discover the awkwardness of right angles

the impossibility of an acute 


crease the metal

lay the piece over a notch in the stump

begin the groove that becomes a fold

let the welding hammer blaze the trail

diligently fold the copper over itself

tap gently             make it become 

something you are thinking about

give it enough space to  still be itself


deliver it to the fire

heat will make it malleable

now it gives

like it wants to move

wants to become something else


so help it out

take the hammer and pound


with focus

this is not a half-assed procedure

this is serious


and its not


for it’s hide’n’seek

and run rabbit run

but mostly it is a beginning

the shape of a mouth finding its tongue


learn burnish

file            patina            quench

speak copper