Below is a previous version of the poem. Coming back to it after some time away, I realized that the lines needed some space—that they required, in fact, more of a Winogradsky column “look,” which is tubular and layered. The visual definition of such a column is always sectional and kind of 3D, so I broke the lines and stanzas to resemble the sections. I couldn’t do much about the 3D part. Still, it made a huge difference to my eyes. I think this is one instance where just changing the line and stanza breaks to make a poem more grounded and concrete really intuits the way you read it and creates a more powerful emotional effect overall.
Mare Internum: The Secret World Inside You
One huge Winogradsky column,
the pond digests a diverse mix,
organized into clear layers
based on their energy sources:
Afghanistan, Eritrea, Iraq, Nigeria.
With a few cups of mud and some
other simple materials, out of direct
sunlight, a lush garden of migrants
at the bottom; carbon-eating ones
in the middle; and photosynthesizing
microbes at the top—a self-sustaining
ecosystem of distinct, experimental parts.
This poem was found from the article, “Grow a Bacterial Zoo in a Bottle,” by Steph Yin, Popular Science, March 24, 2016.