Nitrogen in my veins, bonus “Periodic Table” poem by Chiago poet Janet Kuypers


Nitrogen in my veins

Janet Kuypers

bonus poem from the Periodic Table of Poetry series (#007, N)
(stemming from Fingers Black, written 6/5/10)
3/29/13

You told me nothing.
You just left me.

Now wait a minute,
I’m a journalist,
so all I could do
was turn my fingers black,
scouring the newspapers,
searching for any news
about what happened
with us.

The ink from that paper
crept around my fingernails,
trying to work it’s way
under my skin.
I could feel that
darkened soybean oil,
that petroleum oil,
creeping it’s way into me.
I could feel that Nitrogen
from that petroleum oil
piggy-backing on that
hydrogen, carbon, oxygen.
I could feel that Nitrogen
butting that sulfur out of the way,
pushing it’s way
past the only trace amounts
of nickel and iron.
(Those trace elements
couldn’t stand a chance
against the power
of that Nitrogen,
that power
to spill the news
out to the world.)

I ran my hands
through those newspaper pages.
I felt that ink
seep under my skin,
and I felt the surge
of that Nitrogen in my veins.

I know they use liquid Nitrogen
to fuel cars,
to make them go
at stellar speeds…
And I know people take Nitrogen
to give their bodies
added strength,
so,
journalist or not,
maybe this is
exactly
what I need.

I’ll scour those pages,
I’ll let that Nitrogen
seep into my veins,
as I look for any way
to get you back.

Besides,
all this ink’s in me now.
This Nitrogen has given me
the impetus
for all I’ve got to say.


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