THERMOS 10: Hunter Deely, “heart/fossil”

“heart/fossil” comes from our special issue of THERMOS featuring Hunter Deely’s poetry. You can check back every couple days in the coming month for more of his poetry. For an introduction, see here.


how the fossil returns to bone its bits
shed skin it rains fernly upswerving
into a vortex of starlings in shadows

we lost watch them while ponderosa
pollen swims to our knees and dead
wood wild curls into the devil’s toenail

wings of cicadas impressions of leaves
leaving stone spin smokewise toward
sockets and catch your birchbark lips

let the rupture and sub-sequent rush inside
(as we stand on a snail the size of your
chest) my chest emerge backwards

call this fossil Protocardia in Latin
ancestor of the heart whose stoneturned
form beats at a frequency too low

sever the sinew at the umbo of time
from space and return breathwise with me
to the flooded floor of the forest for

once this was the ocean floor and these
cedars were coral and this pollen was krill
and these bugwings and birds are still

phosphorescent worms fed on sulfur and white
light like the pearl at the center of the stone
that has disappeared into the toxic mist

and hold it in (as the water rises to my
hand) your hand till it grows warm
and its shapeshifting returns to dust

and let it fill our lungs for they have no use
here where the devil walks on his nails
in our restless shadows we hold the process
that burns the fossil back in to the heart


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