I’m sitting and pondering catalysis
musing on fumes from our molten exhaust
hydrogenation of oils makes the margarine sitting in our fridge
white dyed yellow like the lace dress you wore in 1973
snagged beneath the catalytic converters you stole for platinum.
a lot has changed since then.
if you were here you would see our city made of roads
shadows posing as guilty silhouettes
distorted paperclips of the bus stop where I wait.
in its file you would see reams of trees cloaked with marmalade leaves
it is autumn in August, and I see catalysts in my eyes.
alkylation makes the petroleum veneer beneath my feet
grey-on-grey the word “hydraulic fracking” conceals the black with blue.
the world spins too fast for our reaction to wait
salt masks the centreline
the activation energy dips beneath the level we call normal.
and I breathe powdery white clouds into this world of roads
watching as they lose themselves in the thick body of smog
as my bruised heart moves through midnight traffic
riding on the million catalysts that pepper our city of roads.
my heart rate monitor dips beneath the normal
a laconic glissando as the Bus 29 takes me to the road to the sky.
my heart falters just slightly
lingers at the long line of reactionary procession
the stagnant exhale of our earthly products.
E Wen Wong
E Wen Wong is in her final year at Burnside High School, where she is Head Girl for 2020. E Wen has been writing poetry since she was ten years old and was one of the very first fans of NZ Poetry Box. Last year, she was a finalist in the National Schools Poetry Award and Winner of the Poetry New Zealand Student Yearbook Competition.