Robert W. King
Father and the Elements
Since he taught chemistry, I knew he knew
how sheer stuff exactly tightened itself
together, what weighed down or buoyed up,
the material nature of thin air.
He took me once to see the periodic table
he'd painted on a classroom wall, a glossy
order of numbers and linked letters,
the electric push and pull of valence.
I understood this was the whole of it
was all I understood, time ahead to learn
how similar, how different, how, charged
opposites, we'd hold the world between us.
Robert W. King's first book, Old Man Laughing (Ghost Road Press), was a finalist for the 2008 Colorado Book Award in Poetry and he recently won the Grayson Books Chapbook Competition with Rodin & Co. He lives in Greeley, Colorado, where he directs the website www.ColoradoPoetsCenter.org.