Thursday, December 8, 2022

The Phosphorus Stone

Brand the alchemist,
Distilling urine,
Found something that glowed,

The bringer of light.
Tracer bullets, white
Phosphor bombs, smoke screens—

Not longevity,
Not lead into gold—

Followed, since humans
Will make a weapon
Out of any tool.

But only humans?
Phosphate recycling
Works for all of life,

Tool of ATP,
Tool of DNA,
Lipids, and proteins.

And what has life done?
Lives took that phosphate
And made armored shells.

Other lives took it
To make pointy teeth.
The war for phosphate

Was on. The teeth won,
And won and won and
Won and won the next

Half a billion years,
Won until humans
Industrialized bombs.

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