Geologic Time by Erica Sternin

The gardener’s middle aged, hummingbird mind

Cannot encompass Geologic Time.

She tosses the speckled stone from her seedbed.

The little red stone was Earth’s first daughter;

Volcanic ejecta,

Bouldered into a stream,

And scoured by her lover.

Intercourse pulverized her,

For an Age they carved a canyon.

Here now, palmed briefly, she’s tossed to the verge.

The brief joy of flight recalls her pyroclastic beginnings,

The giddiness of being bladed by a glacier

From her river-lover’s bed

To this hillside.

The gardener, tweezing threadlike roots,

Fine as the hairs on her own damp chin,

Feels a sudden vertigo.

Her head drops to a loamy pillow.

And as she takes her final breath

She notes the coital tang

Of water and minerals at the root zone.

And the speckled stone squats

Motionless at the side of the garden.

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