archives winter 2009



Ununoctium (Uuo)

May I disappear in order that those things that I see may become perfect in their beauty from the very fact that they are no longer things that I see.
—Simone Weil, from Gravity & Grace

the tree, an incessent trembling bridge
—Eileen Myles

for K

let go and allow this almost disappearing act
here we were, at Applebees discussing half-life

once i always said, it is easier to leave than to miss
a life had passed silvery white or grey

though curves of the madrona’s landscape attract me
waitresses swarmed in microseconds

it was (finally) your body that fit
and just swept it all away

death, my best friend, is an unmarked corner
a spill

twilight always a comfortable place for a welcome home
or child’s experiment

how pleasant to have yarrow and fuscia bloom
a human life passed. In stuffed little booths

here between the chattering chairs like white caps on sea
some seventy or so people just kept eating

i am surprised for no reason to weep
how would ancient tribes respond?

follow the evergreen trailmarkers
bridging this life between.


Nitrogen (N)


some remarkable organisms
during chemical activity
receive sugar from sources
absorb free nitrogen,
and add elements
to form something new.

this is called fixation

her greatgrandfather planted
clover in a field & harvested his
Louisiana soil from unlimited supplies of sky
raising also a crop of fixation.


a tornado begins as a supercell

wind drives into the storm and starts to swirl.

her dreams, like these swirls, form funnels
her father a tornado from which she backs

the funnel spins faster and faster
low pressure sucks in the air
just like she gasps herself awake.


the chemistry of tornadoes itself
is not racialized, she thinks,
nor is the story of storms.


but if her name had been beverly
hills rather than katrina
we would have seen the atmospheric
changes of 1000 planes going in,
she thinks,

rolls over and climbs to the edge

*        2. the atmosphere is 79% nitrogen.


Radon (Rn)

from greek a privitive and ergon work, noble or inert
without electron affinities, they tend to be selfish
just chalk it up to low chemical reactivity

discovered during the investigation of radium
it can be toxic like other radioactive substances
from greek a privitive and ergon work, noble or inert
it has been found that rays given off by the radioactive
substances are effective in controlling cancer’s disease
just chalk it up to low chemical reactivity

radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after
cigarettes radon is used in the treatment of cancer
from greek a privitive and ergon work, noble or inert

how easy it is for an atom to gain electrons
the noble gases tend not to gain electrons at all
just chalk it up to low chemical reactivity

noble gases are used in blimps, toy balloons, and advertising signs
and as inert atmospheres would be undesirable
from greek a privitive and ergon work, noble or inert
just chalk it up to low chemical reactivity


Polonium (Po)



Deborah Poe is the author of Our Parenthetical Ontology (Custom Words 2008) and chapbooks from Furniture_Press and Stockport Flats Press. Her writing is forthcoming or has appeared in journals such as Coconut, Ploughshares, Denver Quarterly, Copper Nickel, Filter Literary Magazine, Drunken Boat, and A Sing Economy. She has received several literary awards including the Thayer Fellowship (2008) and three Pushcart Prize nominations. Poe is assistant professor of English at Pace University, where she teaches creative writing and contemporary fiction and theory.