Today's poem is by Colin Cheney

Stabat Mater (Marie Curie's Pitchblende)

Like flashbulb, maybe a firefly,
she felt herself flare & then dim, & then waited
for the surge of matter
she had no means to measure in her gut.

Glass ceiling but no visible stars, intimation of leaves.

On the workbench, transfigured earth
singing, &, though she can't know this, singing
in her cells.
Me, I've fallen for the idea of her
loneliness, science
a way to say she misses the hands, hands
the surgeon took above the wrist,

what the discarded wasting flesh sings in the refuse pile,

bone shuddering as though it were bird, rainy
newsprint, tin.
Elsewhere, Katherine's hand
slips inside the skull of a gray whale,
beached, feeling for the science of this single death,

the body rearranging itself in the sea-less gravity

of shore, as the self sparks —
tectonics, a friction — between two modern ideas of the self,

her hand searching as wolves of decomposition,
like a lover, breathe against her skin.
Elsewhere, a cellist
remembers the shape her body must take to play this,
how cells rearrange themselves
to not suffer the sickening stone's change.

Listening, I'm thinking half about the birds

not living in my hands, & half the mast of someone's sailboat
tied up on the Hudson, rocking gently now
& then with a surge
suggesting a storm some miles out to sea.

Copyright © 2010 Colin Cheney All rights reserved
from Here Be Monsters
The University of Georgia Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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