The Subtle Arts of Chemistry



Dance the benzene ring around,
whirling six times three—

trace Lewis dot sigils in quicksilver,
ionic bond prisons for errant souls.

Mendeleev’s sacred alphabet hides
a multiplicity of gods, one hundred
eighteen abbreviated divinities.

Write their names on your heart
in columns ordered by gravitas.

Beware the so-called noble gases.
Aloof, they cannot be trusted
to aid when you call.  Put your faith

in earthly things – carbon, oxygen,
hydrogen and helium, sun and starlight,

knowing you are already liquid
by nature though solid in form,
perhaps to sublimate someday.

Titrate glucol and atropa belladonna
drop by drop into a solution
of artemesia absinthium.

Note the moon and the lady
in your lab notebook,
the subtle changes in the green.

Dream of sailing
natural satellite seas,
a basalt summer cottage
on the shores of Mare Imbrium,

guide your meditations
toward the Technicolor advent
of distant stars, birthed
from the dust-cloud of your regrets.