“Elemental” by Jeannine Hall Gailey

Jeannine Hall Gailey


The titanium staple
the surgeon left in your stomach
is just the beginning:

it’s the strontium-90 in your baby teeth,
in the bones of your parents.
(The dust of New Mexico, the echoes of
tests of implosion triggers
fifty, sixty years ago.)

Note the Americium in your smoke detector.
Note the rate of decay per second.
The trees drink Cesium click click click
The bees weave particles into their nests click click click

The traces around you
of other people’s experiments
linger in your veins, lungs, eggs
linger in your femur and kidney.

Carbon-based structures,
we absorb from the water, from the air,
from our food, from our walls
from our parks and fishing ponds.

We absorb and our body says:
it is good.

from Rattle #38, Winter 2012
Tribute to Speculative Poetry

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