Juan Reyes, Lineman

Michael Martone


My father (he's gone now) was a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers as I am. One of my first memories is entering my elementary school's science fair (in kindergarten) with a project demonstrating the different circuits (series and parallel) that my father really made. My father coached me as to what to say to the judges, but I don't really remember what I said back then. Electricity is a mystery still. I like that it "flows," that it seems to know (before I would know) that the circuit is complete. It goes where it goes. I think about "the ground" a lot. Especially when I am up in the air. There is a field of utility poles I work (I don't come down often) where we string the new wire, testing the product of the Fort Wayne wire and die companies. The electricity (testy, testing) circuits aimlessly around the forest schematic, humming as it goes, snapping around the glass insulators, looking for the ground. When I buried my dad (not that far from this electric forest), I played out a lead of copper wire he held in his hand that ran to mine, not letting go as the ground was filled in around that thread. It's there still (a patinaed blade of grass), I touch when I visit, discharge (still) the sad shock of it all.