I have seen the morning shaded by clouds of chlorine. I have seen the sky aflame with flares of gas 100 feet high. The warning sirens sing to the beat of pumps and motors. Instant awareness that the wind blows my way. Moments panic fumbling for mask. running to shelter thoughts invade Is it the right mask? which plant is leaking gas? Look to the old who have survived this before. look out for the young hanging around the door. Shelter in place. hope it is just a release. Feel the ground shake. Is it time to jump and race? surrounded by toxic fumes talk is soft and somber like at a tomb. there are three air packs and eight men in the room. but breathing doesn't matter the outside air may remove your skin. Hope the seals hold, pray for the wind sorry for downwind people but I need my skin. Outside looks clear but the invisible killers may still be there. one hour turns to two. Calling family making light of our plight. "people are working on it, everything will be alright." no talk from safety no talk from help fires burn brutal blue and green upwind from here. Two hours turn to three. Eating someone's lunch makes me wonder where he is riding the leak out. worry starting to show on faces of the ones who know. Time is not on our side. wish I was home. wish I could go outside.
Horns Blow All Clear - Leak stopped - fires out - tension released with a loud shout.
Walking out the gate - swapping shifts - talking to operators awaiting a lift. Look around columns and tanks as far as I can see. Money made by the gallon and the standard cubic foot. making plastic, fertilizer, and paint with our lives. But I am walking out not being carried. Another day we cheated death for a dollar but death is patient and can wait another day.