Part III. Petra, Present

Part III. Petra, Present

 

New York City, Museum of Natural History

 

Petra petrologist1
stands in her lab
a Woman of forty,
a Woman well learned
holds old harmony in her Home
of some souls lived past, of
a Girl of four made from
knucklebones stone and
hearth at home, of
a Girl of fourteen from
Pozzuoli who
kept count of cyclic shakes
without some phone
a Woman now who holds same stones:
volcanic rocks from lands far flung—
Napoli, Java, Phlagrean, too—
held careful in gloved palms
placed tender like babes into a chamber
of makeshift magma2
high pressure, high temperature
pulled for analytics
crystals, in there, chemical comport
hypotheses!
Conditions of creation formed
tested once more— and more,
and more
for someone else to enroll
to learn
this prophecy of their own

 

  1. A petrologist is a type of geologist that looks at the origins of rocks. Petra means rock. In this particular instance, I mean to suggest Petra is an experimental petrologist with an interest in volcanic rock.
  2. The chamber I’m referring to here is the cold-seal Vessel, a pressure vessel where a hollowed out rod of high strength metal holds a rock sample and a small amount of added water, placed into an external furnace, and heated from anywhere up to 800° C and 3, even to 5 kbar.
 
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