a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
In energy-extracting cells, electrons travel
through every creature of the rainforest,
where fig trees entwined with liana vines
are filled with toucans and parrots. Deep
in the earth, in hidden pockets and tunnels,
electrons, guided by iron, also flow in larvae
of fungus gnats that become glowworms
forming constellations and galaxies that emit
blue-green light over underground streams.
Statistical mechanics and probability guide
reactions to release energy so electrons
can move inside dolphins and whales to
make or break chemical bonds in order
to turn the cosmic energy packaged
by algae drenched in sunlight into life
based on cells where, through oscillations
and shifts, molecules choreograph the steps
and turns of a self-regulating dance.
Thus, the circuits in your brain respond to
the snowflake shapes of touching molecules
when you walk onto your hotel balcony
in Ecuador and see a tropical kingbird
perched on a pole, a moss-backed tanager
in a balsa tree, two blue-gray tanagers
on bananas, and a weasel on the ground.
When this happens, you can say “I love you,”
“Let’s save the jaguar!” or “God has wings.”
Lucille Lang Day is the author of four poetry chapbooks and seven full-length poetry collections, the latest being Birds of San Pancho and Other Poems of Place (Blue Light Press, 2020), as well as two children’s books and a memoir, Married at Fourteen: A True Story. She edited Poetry and Science: Writing Our Way to Discovery and coedited Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California and Red Indian Road West: Native American Poetry from California. Her many honors include the Blue Light Poetry Prize, two PEN Oakland – Josephine Miles Literary Awards, the Joseph Henry Jackson Award, and eleven Pushcart Prize nominations. The founder and publisher of Scarlet Tanager Books, she received her MA in English and MFA in creative writing at San Francisco State University, and her BA in biological sciences, MA in zoology, and PhD in science/mathematics education at the University of California, Berkeley. She lives in Oakland, California.