Folded planet, beaten back to beauty from so many shards,
as annealed as my heart, iron-centred, olivine-clad:
these are the rich remnants of your formation
a beach that weeps the jewel-green tears of peridot pebbles
Tangaroa’s adornment to his mother the Earth.
It is a strange thing, the mantled centre of a planet.
Lab-forged, in the smallest cell of a crushing prison
true transmutation: diamond in transmission, dialled above tradition
post-olivine to perovskite, peridotite beyond perfection.
The very iron of a soul may speak no more.
The great ice giants are beyond my diamonds.
In all my anvils, I can speak only to Rūaumoko’s heart,
he who holds the earthquake
but those worlds that shape the Solar System span far beyond his arc.
Give me a core of liquid diamond, let us sail in the mantle of methane seas
as though, strange squid, we could but slip beyond all talk of differentiation
and signal all our aspects on our skins, as clearly
as any pattern of flashing light and colour
as sharp as any skyforged never-rusting blade;
Be iron to my peridot, and we will be pallasite together:
you the mantle, I the core,
and mostly, throughout all that is written in the rocks
never knowing which is either.
Michele Bannister lives in Australia, where she is working towards her doctorate in astronomy. Her work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Cascadia Subduction Zone and Stone Telling, and is forthcoming in Jabberwocky. She says:
I was reading a paper on the experimental study of planetary interiors. The instrument used in this work is a diamond anvil cell: a compact, hydraulically powered pressure cell where the tips of the anvils are diamond.