Genine Lentine

Willamette Meteorite

(Rose Center for Earth and Space, NYC)
All day children
they touch me without stopping
their questions and chatter
They touch me and their questions stop
Their hands all day inside these cavities
and for a moment they are silent
annulus of a wave
then their voices begin again
I am a shattered remnant
of a planet, nickel iron core of a planet

here I have length and height
I have weight: 15.5 tons
Here, I am a specimen
I am rare and important
I should say, metallic iron meteorites are a relatively rare kind here
Imagine, traveling this far, and for so long
First the main shock of shattering,
then two subsequent shocks
one of which knocked me here
I’m among the largest meteorites found
Of what was never found I am not the largest
not the smallest either
These cavities –- don’t think that’s some kind of
outer space thing That’s local rain, and oxygen
That came from sitting in one place, exposed
The first ones dipped their arrowheads
in the water
collecting in my crevices
They’d drink it spoon it into their sick
Of course it changes them
makes them more like themselves
Once, I never stopped moving
I didn’t have these edges, or anything that might provoke a name
It was pure contiguity, then fire
One day a tiny dog
wriggled from a handbag cold salt nose and before anyone could see
he peed on me I liked it, actually
Otherwise, no rain no fire
Why do you insist we are different?
Here, put your cheek
Put your hand here
just above the solid part
float it there
without touching Do you feel that hum
in the sponge
of your bones?

Genine Lentine
“Willamette Meteorite” is from Mr. Worthington’s Beautiful Experiments on Splashes (New Michigan Press, 2010).