“[L]ead is a material different from all other materials, a metal which you feel is tired,
perhaps tired of transforming itself and that does not want to transform itself anymore:
the ashes of who knows how many other elements full of life, which thousands upon
thousands of years ago were burned in their own fire.”
- Primo Levi

A star’s last life as lead
is in working
the rock whose closed

weight seems dead
but instead is full
of deception

to absorb those perils it has lived
hidden all of the lives it has
under a skin of glass to reflect

you may weigh it against the tangle
that our dead are,
worn through like old skin
who knows how many other
elements in their own transformations
once wore

what’s left will be
wrought of the course
memory follows

after those shapes it took after

what’s left then is liquid
as feeling, elastic
as flesh.

past dissolution go likewise
open as matter’s most constant
resolve

Zofia Burr