Earthquake Poems

by Lana Bella


From and In Its Place
Your fingers contour me the way
this blunt knife sliding home on
a heavy stone, knowing as always
I’d ache, but my aches silence
even the premonition. It’s 10 pm,
I’m a slip of a girl, sinking with
the cascades of loose weaving air,
so comfortable I could hunger
for more reasons than breathing
more. This elegance of the knife
whistles through where you stand
there, neat and hallowed; your
name becomes lakes and widens
with oceans of akoya pearls.
My only constants, my clefts in
the thick contrast against every-
thing else—I’m inscribed and
wrought by you, a reckless brain
for your cognitive inlay, a crest
on your thirst offers itself as water.


Wrens and Swallows
Trees in wet wood took shape, wrens
and swallows jarred the miles and
vaulted tall tuffs of yellow weeds. Life
in concert with smoke and mirror,
seeds born into wind in sinking reach,
moved swiftly through like myelin
harrowed of its master’s thirst. Echoes
pushed up, clinging to the feathered
flights like pilgrims travel beholden and
long, where the meager properties of
a quiet life rose by way of anorexic air,
motes rended circuitously spitting up
sparks. Swooped their little piles of
hybrid shadows, the easy birds took sky
torrid down to dust, kissed the earth-
quake country with lungfuls of sawflies.



Elsewhere, the orphaned notes
of Bach drove into the snaked
skin of tobacco’s scent, the wet
mouth blooming through noise
of insects; a startle, a rustling,
your nectar voice touched every
leaf, satin-lines reddened dark
with fallen mist. Floodlit, star-
eclipsed, you vibrated through
the soles of your stockinged feet,
eased down steep verdant of hill-
sides, scraped fingers on dusk’s
ruffled skirt. You remembered
then how you had glimpsed your
lone body amidst the hydrangea
vines weeping blue four-lobed deep,
where the swallowtail-wings lifted
at last to bless the Causeway Coast,
peppering land with striated gold,
and no weather hydraulics could
have intruded on their comet-flight,
and your bestride bend upon the
tentacled hold of mums’ rubied heads.

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