Alison Luterman

(New England)

Earthquakes


So many so small go on day and night
under your feet you barely notice.

A big bang sounds like someone in the upstairs apartment
knocking over their refrigerator, and you ask,

Why knock over your refrigerator?
while friends turn pale and head for the doorjambs.

No, no, it's just some guy
going ape-shit in his kitchen, you insist.

Maybe he's drunk. You're so good at making up explanations,
you miss the moments things shift

for real, red tulips beginning to wilt in their vase,
their lipstick mouths puckering like dowagers,

or the way a marriage curdles like milk left out too long.
You're standing on sand,

(you're always standing on sand,)
but its not the same sand as a wave ago,

everything has swept in and out,
regardless of whether you believe in death

who says, Alright, fine, don't believe in me,
or who doesn't say anything at all,

just goes about his death business,
loosening lovers arms from around each other's necks,

liberating teeth from their gums.
The yellow and brown crumpled gloves

of last year's fig leaves
lie abandoned in front of your house,

flaking detritus someone has to sweep up
and touch, someone has to notice and mourn.

Submitted: Thursday, March 15, 2012

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