The Elements

 for Delaware City Oil Refinery


From here I promise you will see it all —


those clusters of towers

their various diameters and heights

lifted into cloud-clotted sky


bespeckled by summer sun

grounded by a low plinth

composed of wide shallow domes


grounded by marshes clotted with nests and lairs

clusters of golden phragmites

rising up there


then water, lapping

where eels unscroll, abiding in the dark patches

on their way to the Sargasso Sea


not a sea as you’d imagine it, just

the ragged floating place they dream of —


a falling sequence of materials

from solid to liquid to gas, a game

of animal vegetable mineral —


old cast-iron composed of scraps of dying stars

grounded by a burning fall

torn caterwauling out of the ground


casting fire and steam into that floating sky

while within, the compression of life forms —

fern bones and beetle wings from long ago


transformed to gasoline and other gases, or lighter fuel

diesel laced with hydrogen, or propane —

gases, liquids, steam, fire — fluid forms


in drifted tatters lapped by sky and water

smithereens unfurled, swarming

toward some remembered place.

Anne Yarbrough’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Poet Lore, Delmarva Review, and Gargoyle. She lives along the lower Delaware River.