Posted by jeresk on August 25, 2009 in My Mom's Poems |


it’s called flowstone when it

bubbles rock from the wall

and the stalacTites hang Tight from ceiling

and the stalagMites are Mounds jutting up rock hard cylinders

that shine from the oil of a thousand fingers

which could not resist molesting them

and the joke i taught my kids for the test:

when the stalactite dripping down

and the stalagmite reaching up


what do you call ’em?

i say:  what do you call ’em?

call ’em?? get it?

and they never get it because

10 year olds don’t know what a column

is but after this groaning joke

they do and will forever

and they know that iron

turns the rock red;

that calcite white is seeping limestone and not ice;

that the green is nickel.

except when it is not.

the nickel now this is an important lesson.

it goes like this:

green is Evidence.

it is not a Proof.

green says: form a hypothesis from the Evidence but

do not be sure.  do not reach a conclusion

conclusion being the point where thinking stops.

see green is sometimes moss growing

in the electric light that the park service installed.

so green means:  Evidence. Evidence

means there is something more to find out.

the whole year green is a good color even for current events.

i can say: think:  about the green think:

is this Evidence?

or is this Proof? and they get it.

and they think.

now there is pluto in that column and there is persephone

the smaller column with the folds of calcite drapery

that has swirls of rusty iron that do not seem to me

the skirts of hell’s wife

but bacon

and so that is the next lesson:

what do you see in that?  is it alive?

is it the front the back the top of its head?

what is its name? is it happy here in the darkness?

what keeps it company?  show me its friends

and on and on and i myself well i see the flower petals

which look like a georgia o’keefe which is to say of course

like labia

but that is not a thing to say to ten year olds so i say:

it is a tulip

that was drunk and accidentally grew down into the earth

instead of up into the air

but look.  see?

it is happier after all to know its roots

are enjoying kicking up at the blue sky

and the tulip will live ten thousand years instead of a spring.

we name everything.

the soda straws and the popcorn and the heart

that never beat a beat

and we make up stories

if we don’t know the science.

it’s dark and damp and 52 degrees in august

and 52 degrees in february

and there has never been a breeze blow here.

you have to count backwards into time eternal

to find the last moment there was some change

some tremor that tripped a triceratops

and collapsed a stone curtain of the cave.

we are less than the dinosaurs here

and i think persephone

and her tulip pity us and our puny

hearts that beat and change

with every thump

and even our stories will change and be gone before

the next breath before we

squint into the fading sun.

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