Detail from the bark of a Chinese Elm (Anders Lorentsen/Unsplash)

You ask what I am at last but
understand the answer is not

subject to form or rather it is in
the form of myself,

cellulose compounds
endlessly recomposing.

I am standing by dint
of parts in tension,

for living is motion,
ends are beginnings

and hydrogen’s cleaving
begets all shining.

I am molten, ongoing,
shot from the heart

of all making
always giving up

to the gladdening
river that is myself.

Elizabeth Poreba is a retired New York City high-school English teacher. Her poems have appeared in Commonweal and the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion among other journals. Wipf and Stock has published two collections of her work, Vexed and Self Help: A Guide for the Retiring. Her latest chapbook, New Lebanon, is available for advanced order at More of her work can be found at

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Published in the January 2023 issue: View Contents
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