It gets left behind, put up in pots and jars
Routinely or is mournfully spread around
In memorable places like old haunts
or out of the shock-proof windows of airplanes
or given back to the sea, but mostly it goes
up in smoke, which doesn’t just hang there.
It’s redistributed free of charge by the Law
of the Diffusion of Gases all over the world,
and so does every breath each creature withdraws
from the general fund of what seems breathable
and returns to circulation immediately.
A physicist told me once, the molecules
of carbon dioxide alone, not to mention
oxygen, in each of our breaths contain
one of more of those uttered by Julius Caesar
when he murmured Et tu, Brute way back when.
But dust isn’t merely the bad, last loose end
of organic matter. It collaborates with the other
inorganic members of its tribe—
what’s left of rocks and stones when they’re ground down
by upheavals and the disturbed behavior
of the earth, again and again, blown this way
and that, up and around and inevitably,
thinned out like the last gasp of Caesar
everywhere over the planet, which is still breathing
for god knows what reason. Without them,
without those particles, we’d have no clouds,
no way for water to rise, travel, and fall,
no rain, no life. We’d die. We’d never be
born, let alone reborn, no matter whose breath
was blown against old matter to quicken us.