Touching Cobalt, Periodic Table poem by Chicago poet Janet Kuypers

Touching Cobalt

Janet Kuypers

from the “ Periodic Table of Poetry” series (#027)

We toasted our anniversary
with Cobalt blue champagne glasses
after we looked over the Cobalt
and tungsten wedding bands.

Seems fitting,
since I am so attracted to you,
that we’re drawn to Cobalt,
one of the most magnetic elements.

I heard a physicist explain
that when two solid objects
are pressed together
they never actually touch.

Now, I can’t imagine it,
but maybe,
because electrons repel
all objects remain one molecule apart.

That must be why,
when we embrace
I want to hold you
tighter and tighter —

because I want to defy
the laws of physics
and feel that contact with you
as long as I possibly can.

Because right now
I don’t care about electrons,
keeping us one molecule apart.

When it comes to Cobalt,
it’s 27 protons and 32 neutrons
are would tightly together
with a strong nuclear force…
Its nucleus’ binding energy
is so strong,
that it only breaks apart
once it is broken down
into its isotopes.

It won’t break apart
in it’s pure form.

Kind of like us,
I suppose,
how we seem to be
so bound by physics.

Physicists say
that solid objects
can never actually touch.
And I’m sorry,
but when it comes to us,
that just can’t be.
Because I want to experience you
with all of my senses.
I want our molecules to intermingle.
I want us to actually touch.

Lithium poem by Janet Kuypers


by Janet Kuypers

from the “ Periodic Table of Poetry” series

I know I needed you around me, I was desperate.
I know I wanted you in my life to calm me down.
I know I needed you to stop me from my manic episodes.

They told me it’s not an addiction I have with you,
but then they told me that if I broke away from you altogether
I would cycle back to my old psychotic, unhealthy ways.

So please don’t tell me I’m crazy for wanting you.
But I just couldn’t stand being me. I just wanted to calm down.
I was desperate for you. I wanted to feel normal again.

You were the one to calm ME down, but the thing is,
you were the one that was also supposed to help me
with my poor judgment and aggression.

Because when I was with you, I felt like my blood was on fire.
With you around I couldn’t eat any more. I felt dizzy with you,
I’d feel tremors and twitching. You made me unsteady.

On the surface, you seemed soft to me, with you silver-white hair.
With your lightness, I forgot how metallic you were when we joined.
And now look what we’ve become.

when we finally got together, when we fused together,
when we were finally ready to take each other in,
we became the source for the most violent explosion.

We became a part of a preordained cycle I couldn’t escape,
we became radioactive and caused something so unstable
that we destroyed everything we had.

You helped my destroy everyone that was me.