Bio Note: I teach English at Manhattanville College. I've published two books of poems (Shiva Dancing and Riptide) and a chapbook (Between What Is and What Is Not) and individual poems in various journals. I live in Norwalk, Connecticut, with my wife and fellow poet, Laurel Peterson.
Thoreau says vital heat, and yes, every person burns, each an internal combustion engine, thirty million cylinders a second igniting, mitochondria brokering marriages between glucose and oxygen. And, in the beginning, trillions upon trillions of newborn atoms colliding in the exploding wombs of stars, hot progeny, strange unions in the molten soup of space, the whole thing as fiery and violent as a pantheon of Greek gods. But from that, water, hydrogen and oxygen conjoining, vapor and ice, rivers, lakes, seas frozen inside a red planet, oceans sprawling across a blue globe; the lilting laughter of water dancing down a rock-strewn mountainside, little pools of genesis doing their magic in depressions along a shore; each living cell a chalice holding a sacrament of fluid, every burst of fire within that bubble releasing vapor into the world. Death comes on a dry wind that sucks leaves brittle, the hydraulics of trees failing to feed their vast green canopies, heads turned gray, seed gone dormant, Tantalus thirsting for rain to moisten a parched mind.
©2023 Van Hartmann
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