God’s Table

The Periodic


Of the




Woefully clinical.

Its flat boxes holding unprettied letters and numbers

in a seemingly anything-goes polygonal frame

bearing no resemblance to anything familiar.

If anything, its name recalls unnatural aromas

and longings for class to end, now, now.


The teachers forget to tell their students:

The Periodic Table of the Chemical Elements

is a mandala of creation.

It is every color, every texture.

It is the encryption

of every thing that ever was, is, or, will be.


They forget to say:

Take off your goggles and gloves

and stare at the Table as if it were

the Burning Bush itself.

They forget to teach their students

to praise the omnipotence of the Table’s

mix-and-match atoms that are

the fountain even of matter that thinks and weeps

and comes to know of universes.


The Table should be set in a rococo frame,

gold-leafed and intricate,

flanked by candles day and night,

never coiled up like a window shade

unfurled merely for academic reference.


© Ivan Amato


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