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The Character of Carbon

Six-C motherfucker—you have a way
of sucking all the oxygen out of a room.

Egyptians and Sumerians recognized you first,
Lavoisier gave you a place at the Table.

We frantically measure your parts per million,
but you don’t care either way.

Hot button hustler, poised for escape
at a bottle-popping party, you don’t look back,

leaving everything flat. Can you be captured, traded,
taxed, sequestered? Your miscellanea—

those dipoles of soft and hard, allotropes of graphite and
diamond, ready to bond—ready for Controversy.

Recombinant shape-shifter, capable of creating nearly
10 million compounds, of course you’re unfazed

by our atmospheric pressure. With no melting point,
reaction-resister, stoic solid—Is summer

your season? Squatting in peat, loitering in petraoleum,
skulking in methane clathrates, cached in coal.

You really know how to heat things up.






Cara Murray‘s poetry is included in the collection “Systemic Crises of Global Climate Change: Intersections of race, class and gender” (Routledge, 2016) and the anthology “Only Light Can Do That” (PEN Center USA, 2016). Her work also has appeared in Obra/Artifact, Otoliths, Platte Valley Review, and shufPoetry.

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