Under an Electron Microscope

By Patty Dickson Pieczka

Nucleotides twist
into a ladder of tiny pearls.
A twirl of DNA ropes
into sedge and steam.

A man steps down
from its dangling,
bare feet imprinting clay.

He carves out his life
with a musk-oxen horn,
carries hammerstone
and a bear-tooth awl.

His woman buried near
a scorch of caribou,
he migrates through
the woodwind valley,

carries his son
down the sacred melt
through dogtooth violets
and gooseberry deer paths.

The silver stream has learned
her voice, her laugh, curves
its arms to touch him.

As trees whelm the earth with
darkness, he breathes a fire
from flint and rock, throws
his heart into the flame.

A charred stone in his chest,
he searches for God’s face
in wavers of smoke and spark.

At this end of the microscope,
I wear his hungry eyes.


Patty Dickson Pieczka‘s second book, Painting the Egret’s Echo, won the Library of Poetry Book Award from The Bitter Oleander Press (2012). Other books are Lacing Through Time (Bellowing Ark Press, 2011) and a chapbook, Word Paintings (Snark, 2002). She won the Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest in the Best Sonnet category (2014), first prize in the 2012 Illinois Poetry Society contest as well as the Frances Locke Memorial Award (2010). She graduated in Creative Writing at SIU. Writing has appeared in many journals such as Bluestem, Green Hills Literary Lantern, Versedaily.org, and Willow Review. 

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