V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics




           The continents once formed part of a
                single land mass called "Pangaea."
                                     óchildren's encyclopedia

You pumped that liquid sand into the ground
yourself and sank
those hold-downs.  They were there
to keep the empty house from thinking
it had other things to do, some preternaturally calm
October day in earthquake weather.

The major posts are bolted
to the foundation, the subfloor glimmers
with strategic hardware, the water heater's strapped
against the wall.  Five years on

the house has settled in itself
like an old woman shifting her huge bulk
in an armchair.  Still and all
you lie awake and think how many ways
the walls might jump their tracks, the quiet earth

beneath your feet become a river.  Late at night
you take the house apart a thousand times
and nail it back together, listening to the timbers

wheeze and snore.  You know
you cannot listen hard enough to hear
what most wants hearing: that distant
high-pitched singing in the aquifer.  That bright
glissade of breaking glass.  That roar.

© by Rachel Loden


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