Rachel Landrum Crumble received an MFA from Vermont College. Most recently she has published in Bindweed, Common Ground Review, and has work forthcoming in Spoon River Review and the Bluing the Blade. Her first poetry manuscript Sister Sorrow has twice been a finalist but is yet to be published. She has taught kindergarten through college and is currently a special education case manager and high school online English teacher. She and her jazz drummer husband are Yankee transplants who have been married for 39 years. They live in Chattanooga, TN. Find out more about Rachel Landrum Crumble at www.poetteachermom.com.
A New Law of Thermodynamics
Illness makes the narrative “I” merely
a place name on the radar map
of capricious weather—
take cover, and wait.
If matter is neither created nor destroyed,
then what matters most is continually
breaking apart and bonding again
like waves on the cliffs.
Are you feeling out to sea
in the oncology ward
with the white coats advancing
and retreating around you, appearing
more fixed and elemental
than a grim diagnosis?
Or what forever element is missing
from the Periodic Table of your heart
as you await the results
of the EKG in the Cardiac Care Unit?
Petitions escape the lips of loved ones
on your behalf, in the form of
water vapor, CO2, and a super atom
the size of a mustard seed.
Prayer bonds with prayer until gravity
joins in, raining down answers,
or more questions. Either way:
sleep now, for this unclassified element
is indestructible and heat-seeking.
It will not miss—