Origin Story By Bill Yarrow

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My father taught me how to solder
and that’s when I first started to write.
Now, when you hold the soldering
iron in your hand and depress the trigger,
the tip of the gun heats up. Novices uncoil
the solder and place it on the hot tip
but that just results in it melting and
it dripping uselessly into nothingness.

What you need to do is place the tip
of the iron against the contact to be soldered
and then touch the solder to it and you’ll
get a nice bead against which to lay the wire
you want to connect. As with all hard things,
easy does it. So what I started to do was heat up
some nouns and then place some cooler verbs
alongside. I found if I fired up the verbs, I wound
up exploding the piece, so I was careful about the
temperatures of words. It’s all about adhesion,
the tight seal. You want the contact to be secure.
If a wire pulls away, the circuit will be broken
and the thing won’t work, and it has to. I mean,
if the thing won’t work, then what are you doing?

My father was a miser about time, but he let me
labor under my delusion, think that I was doing
the work when it was clear I was not. None of my
contacts held. All the wires pulled away. If you had
looked at me then, all you would have seen was a boy
playing with contacts, littering a counter with blobs of solder.
If I had looked at myself more closely then, I might have seen
a boy learning that the best teacher, of anything, is failure.

Bill Yarrow

Bill Yarrow is the author of five full-length books of poetry and five poetry chapbooks. His poems have been published in PANK, Contrary, Diagram, Thrush, Poetry International, Chiron Review, RHINO, Toasted Cheese and many other journals. His most recent book is ACCELERANT from Nixes Mate Books.

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