art by sonjaye maurya
Rich Follett is a High School English and Creative Writing teacher who has been writing poems and songs for more than forty years. His poems have been featured in numerous online and print journals, including BlazeVox, The Montucky Review, Paraphilia, Leaf Garden Press, and the late Felino Soriano’s CounterExample Poetics, for which he was a featured artist. Three volumes of poetry, Responsorials (with Constance Stadler), Silence, Inhabited, and Human &c. are available through NeoPoiesis Press (www.neopoiesispress.com. He lives with his wife Mary Ruth Alred Follett in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, where he also pursues his interests as a professional actor, singer/songwriter, playwright, and director.
(a protobacteria discovered by NASA),
having mastered alchemic
integration of arsenic
into its DNA,
thrives in Mono Lake, California
(where arsenic levels average seventeen parts per million)
under conditions which
other forms of life cannot survive.
exobiologists the world over are astounded.
(from the Greek arsenikos,
meaning ‘masculine’ and ‘toxic’)
is one of deadliest substances
known to man –
an untraceable, silent killer.
Van Gogh went crazy;
Emerald Green -
an arsenic-based pigment favored by Impressionists
was to blame
(merest exposure, it seems,
causes irreparable harm).
(in the primordial lake of my
Emerald Green memory)
lurks arsenikos DNA:
unhallowed, alchemic proof strands …