Magnification Poem by Maryann Corbett

Maryann Corbett

Washington, D.C. / United States

Magnification



Colors come as a shock.
Pink garnet, hematite, green epidote.
Agate, the jewels' blood.
What's underfoot
is gemstone, not dumb rock,

and what we took for dun-
dusted utility—construction grade,
anonymous as mud—
is scaled-down jade.
Like reliquary stone,

it venerates remains:
foraminifera in starch-stiff curls,
puff-bodied, spiculed rays,
whorled shells.
Silly to call them grains

as if a summer acre
busheled them, cut and dried, the season's yield.
These need the ocean's pace—
decades laid down like nacre,
time pearled.

Drawn to this intimate view,
we're pressed to think in eons: glacial crush
that ground scree and moraine,
and river rush
boiling the stone stew

down to a settled thing.
So brokenness, shivered from what it was,
reduced again, again,
till it seemed to us
not worth our focusing,

falls into focus, strong,
million-powered beneath the microscope.
A child with a paper cup
builds on the sand. What has borne up so long
will bear her up.

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Maryann Corbett

Washington, D.C. / United States
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