Silver by Julie Diane Gates

You can’t find that half ounce of mercury
Shrunken to the base of the priceless miniscule vial
Buried at the center of the iceberg
In the Antarctic.
Hack away with your foolish man-made tools, drills, hatchets, and axes,
If you must,
But you’ll only chip away and flake the surface
Into pathetically shaved shards not worth the still-life sweat you spent
To crack a chip off the old block of
The mammoth translucent blue frozen façade.
It’s in there for a reason—
Not to be disturbed
Shaken
Wrested
Or played with.
TNT? Sure. Go ahead. Bomb it, if you must.
But the mercury will rise, if you do,
The dead silence will roar, screech, crash, and crumble
In crushing brittle breaking mountains, mounds, masses
Of sharp stabbing planes of cracking ice plateaus,
And you will no longer see or be.
Let the ice be to glisten with its secrets
As quietly as it has all along developed
And sustained.