Phosphorus poem by Janet Kuypers


Janet Kuypers

from the “ Periodic Table of Poetry” series

I didn’t know how much I needed you.
I didn’t know how essential you were to me.
I didn’t know how my creation depended on you.

Even though I barely see you,
even though you seemed barely there for me,
even though I got rid of you whenever I could…

I didn’t know that even though
you were barely there,
you were there… just enough.

Like Venus, I only saw you from afar.
Like what is in DNA, RNA, ATP, you are
like me, all the way down to my cell membranes.

When I think of you,
when I breathe in the oxygen around me,
when your phosphorescence illuminates me…

Then I realize your true power.
Then I realize you’re the light bearer.
Then I realize you’re my morning star.

Though you seem toxic,
though you seem explosive,
that’s apparently the spark that gets me going.

So, remember that you give the Earth life.
So remember, you can always light my fire.
So, remember that since you have that charge

you can also help us destroy ourselves.