Zirconium poem by Janet Kuypers

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Zirconium

Janet Kuypers

from the “ Periodic Table of Poetry” series

So I was at the Gem and Jewelry Show
with my girlfriend, and a man
I thought would ask me to marry him one day,
and my girlfriend stopped at a booth
amongst the rows and rows of vendors
and told me to look at a huge engagement ring.
Well, I didn’t want to look, I didn’t want
to get my hopes up, but seeing the brillance
of the awe-inspiring stones made me ask
for the price of one particular ring.
They told us it was three hundred seventy-five
dollars. And we were confused, this ring
should be at least two grand, but then we saw
that this was a booth of cubic zirconia jewelry.
How disappointing, we thought, we want
the real thing. But looking back, I had to admit
that the Zirconium was unmistakably breath-taking.

I don’t know if Zirconium is as short-lived
as that relationship with the man that went with me
to the Gem and Jewelry Show in Chicago
that I thought would ask me to marry him one day,
but if nothing else, at least some Zirconium
would have been a nice gesture…

Although the element Zirconium’s
most common oxide is zirconium dioxide
(also known as zirconia), used
as a common diamond substitute,
the metallic element Zirconium is a lustrous,
grayish-white, soft, ductile and malleable element.

Different from a diamond, I suppose,
but also different from the cubic zirconia isotope.
I just have to keep remembering
that cubic zirconium is not all Zirconium is used for:
it is used for not only in nuclear applications,
but also in Space and aeronautic industries.
Zirconium is used for cladding nuclear reactor fuels,
and materials from Zirconium metal and its oxide
is even used in space vehicle parts
for their resistance to heat.
A Zirconium isotope has been recently used
in positron emission tomography (PET) cameras…
So ductile or not, maybe Zirconium
is pretty strong, and exactly at times
what I need.