e pluribis unum - james cates

I am
the first microbial life
to live before
I divided and multiplied
and returned myself to the ocean.

I am the virus
the surviver of the great extinctions
and the one who died that I might live.

I am the life whose waste became oxygen
and the oxygen who fed the beings
changing myself from nothing
to something
to nothing.

I am the mold
who used and gave
becoming and sharing with the plant
who was the first to entangle our roots into the earth.

I am the being who consumed
the essence of the plant as it rotted
beneath the already ancient sun.

I am the spores carried on the wind
stirred by the warmth and expansion
of the air
as I grow from the death
of the being who once consumed the plant.

I am the sand that filters the water
flowing from the stream into the sea
capturing the bacteria which fruits
from the fungus that surrounds me.
I am the fire, the charcoal
depositing my minerals deep into the soil
so that I may feed myself
from my remains
that I may live again.

The currents of the ocean
know my name
as I swirl with the plankton
naked to the crystalline eye of the trilobite
while I divide and multiply in the falling drops of rain.

For unknown lifetimes
I have come into existence
melting back into myself as I froze suspended in the ice
watching with detachment
as my spirit came and went
like the ebb and flow of the seas.

Never have I understood or remembered
that I have forgotten
my comings and goings,
or the smell in the air that is me
telling me of the danger that could end
and begin my being
as I hunt myself for sustenance.

Never have I comprehended
the decay of my body
has become the nutrient that sprouts the seed
whose leaves nourish the life
upon which I depend.

Never have I seen
I am all
and nothing
the product of all that has come before
and a part of all that will come after
a microcosm of the universe
and the universe itself
with the constriction of a black hole
and the expansion of a supernova
beyond all thought
with understanding surpassing conceptions,
until now.