There was a hardwired table saw. A power supply cord wrapped in a non-conducting alloy disappeared into the concrete floor. The doors to get in and out of the shop were painted red. The adjustment mechanisms on every device in the wood fabrication area were that same color.
In nineteen hundred and eighty-five, my brother’s right hand inadvertently came into contact with the spinning blade of the hardwired table saw. I came running from the theatre but he was already on the way to surgery. His hands work better than mine; he can make a guitar sing but I can only make a piano whisper.
The lathe in the corner was cast from a brand of iron some fellows in grey coats ferried across Lake Michigan. A Geiger counter was hidden under the desk, in the office. The foreman used it to test equipment he brought back from a military outpost he knew about through his association with aerially delivered atomic munitions.
Across the hall, everyone except a man with a knotty beard and arms like Poseidon made small metal objects designed to adorn the human body. Instead, he made starfish, oceanic plants, and great beds of coral wonder from steel. He had been a mariner. The sea stained him with rust and salt. Twenty years later, long after the last jellyfish was cast, he died in a motel room in Florida.
Now I have a gold tooth. Someone else makes roughly artistic versions of other universes in the laboratories described here. My brother is a poet. I am a compiler of data who imagines those spaces anew; filled up with animals. There is a mountain lion, a fragile horse; the dark spider hidden in the scrap yard out back.