atomic ancestors (20220407)

webs collect
in the shadowed corner
above my head
over my desk

i try not to disturb them

no arachnid artifice
no dried up husks
offered as proof
of services rendered
for peaceful coexistence

just a little electrical charge
a little dust
tracked in from outside
some dead skin cells
the hair from the dogs or
maybe the cat who even now
tries to claw her way
up my leg to settle in my lap
or purring against my chest

these are atomic ancestors
descendants yet unborn
related not by dna
but by nuclear half-life
electron clouds
vibrating strings

no ashes for me after death
for i have spent my life
spreading myself generously
with every itch scratched
and every casual exhalation

walt whitman and the legal composting of the dead (20210411)

out of the ground
i steal a bucket of soil
from a previously dug grave
now a healed over wound
in the loamy earth

my theft is to make
a small amount of clay
not even a handful
an artistic experiment

(this is science)
extraction
solution
excitation
suspension
filtration
refinement

(this is magic)
ritual
burial
inspiration
reformation
resurrection

my breath is the breath
of my ancestors
and yours
my hands dig and mix and form
this clay
this body of our ancestors
what whitman has assumed
i have assumed