Thursday, May 31, 2012


By Elizabeth Schultz
he put his family on the roof.
An alchemist rhapsodized over
Earth, Air, Fire, and Water.
He knew that after the earth
quaked, the water would flow,
but could not configure gold,
or an Elixir for Life Everlasting. 
He watched it coming,  
whirling, cascading over walls.
Scientists went further, 
creating The Periodic Table,
pushing through forests,
and the fires erupting,
naming, sorting 109 elements
from Hydrogen to Meitnerium.
When the waters subsided,
he took his family to a school.
They were organized by
atomic number, atomic weight, 
electron configuration, density, 
including two cats, his son’s gecko, 
melting point, boiling point, 
abundance, and ionization energy. 
Snow fell on the remains
and on the mourners at graves,
but no one could discover 
when Earth, Air, Fire, and Water
might explode into chaos,
how to express enough compassion,
how to express enough consolation, 
which might explode into creation
of their own contrivance.

Published with permission. 
Poem from Elizabeth's recently published Anthology "Coming from Japan"