Making Glass

The craft demands nimble fingers
to form the glass as it cools
and droops, fingers unfazed
by the shaping paddle on fire,
by the furnace. Gloves
just make fingers stumble,
no longer singed or scarred
but slow, and quickly then,
the glass gets away.

To work, it needs the heat, needs
to glow as if itself on fire,
as if a piece of the winter sun
has come to Earth. Then,
the glass will bend and bulge,
indulge imagination
but will mark the artist, too,
his skin or eyes, or mind.

And it must move,
an even, unceasing spin
to check the molten flow
of glass, to balance all of it
as it grows, a marathon of inches
run by fingers at their limit,
pressing on despite the long ache.


Jennifer Tappenden is the founding editor of Architrave Press. She earned an MFA in poetry from the University of Missouri–St. Louis where she also served as the university’s first Poet Laureate. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in FlywayThe St. Andrew’s ReviewTerrain, Euphony, Bryant Literary Review, Slipstream, and elsewhere. Her interview (with Karen Lewis) of Thom Ward for Traffic East magazine was featured on Poetry Daily. Most recently she was named a 2013 Creative MasterMind by the Riverfront Times.