One Poem, by Priscilla Long

One Poem by Priscilla Long

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Coal Time

The stone of coal
on my work table
compacts eons. It’s bog,
fern, a form of rhyme,
life’s common carbon.
I too am carboniferous,
a life-form making poem.
I’m molecules morphing
through time, DNA-shaped,
dream-blown. Life’s strict
poetics, ATCG, CGTA, ignites
the mind’s eye. All carbon-
capturing beetles, microbes,
old coal bogs carry life,
its long line. They carry time.




Priscilla LongPriscilla Long is a Seattle-based author and teacher of writing. Her latest books are Fire and Stone: Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? (University of Georgia Press), Minding the Muse: A Handbook for Painters, Composers, Writers, and Other Creators (Coffeetown Press), and Crossing Over: Poems (University of New Mexico Press). She is also the author of Where the Sun Never Shines: A History of America’s Bloody Coal Industry.

Header photo of coal by cocozi, courtesy Pixabay. is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, art, commentary, and design since 1998.