Reading the Stones of Pangaea
In and out, surf tickles shells about
and shards and stones. Effluvium
in sum informs but mechanism isn't
kismet; the bits at my feet are not
runic, though some hold we're on strings
when assembled at stoplights.
Why not read alphabet soup
Among events, perhaps a few
do happen for reasons
we review, as when we arrange
because they're cut
flowers. But had those blooms
formed pods and these seeds
blown - had the wind
Have we, who
but more often we crush
splashing our faces, deal doom
on a regular basis? Unseen
communities perish, presumably
clueless yet possibly praying.
Insects, monstrous by contrast
sometimes sense war and sometimes
not with malice, especially
bugs. Just as
on our heads, trees
and, yes, skies
fall. We can do little
and far less for comets.
To deal with Overmuch
we're underscale: Continents
crack and it's nobody's
fault; why slander San Andreas?
Jains on tiptoe, in facemasks
to be kind-
er than God.
Zircon over Sandstone: This hints at hexagram
but doesn't forecast; instead, it explicates the
past, revealed by Science in a woman's
shape. They don't originate
with desert rock; those diamantes got
displaced some thousand miles
some twenty million years ago - somehow
to pock that dry arroyo
not, I insist, to fill any geologist's fist
particularly. And still, as if by yarrow's arrow
she of Science recently was struck - by being
when we rule out blessed, prepared
for luck. Endlessly schooled, in staid compliance
with instruction, she paid dues - or so we choose
to guess when fashioning surmise. Forgetting
justice, like compassion, is our own device.
Well. Be her insight treasonably free, or tough-
fought, costly, it dispelled a mystery. With mystery.
Anybody might deduce monsoons and reintroduce
gravity - those gems could not travel laterally
but our sage lady caught in view
Pangaea, too. Renewed.
Beyond tired dust and wizenings, the bitch is lush
When She the All-Earth was un-
fractured or practically, un-
broken almost wholly, nearly entire
with more streamings than sea
things flowed internally
borne by caprices of season
and breath, not the resolute moon's
The spill of currents only pencilled-
in, these could of course
roll towards to an ocean shore
in mid-Nevada, on her cue. For Death Valley
read Malibu. And of course she wore
zircons on green breasts in west Texas
which was then on the high road
Of course glitterings poured with the
muck of rainforests that soared over
latter-day Lubbock. No more
improbably, memory bursts on us
downwards: Black with such
brightness, it gushes
from nowhere that must've been
Together we could do everything:
Even at four, he surpassed me in wiring; I rag-painted
fast and was king-hell with plaster. (Memory's force
may be worse than disaster, even in rhyme.)
When last spring he felt fine
for - so far - the last time, my son set boulders:
virtual monoliths. His confrere futzed meanwhile
with pebbly bits.
Chic columns framed for speakers in their den aren't
done, as this is heavy work - and tech: the province
of my son, who can't schlep sheetrock now
or saw or wire; he's far too tired - some days too
low to soak their roses. I don't mind, but loathe recoiling
those hoses. Much rather would I smash or put up walls
with him who lugged the other end of every auction haul;
whose hands were manly-strong when baby-small.
Together, we could do it all.
The first thing I recall in life is gravel
at my curbside, where I sat and built with it
for years - and, yearning, peered through scraggly
forsythia: disturbed by other children's
laughter. Older, they could leave their yards.
On pain of switches felt when I escaped, my friends
were mineral. I learned to play with what was cool
and smooth. And sharp.
Truth keeps this
close, and as perpetually
possible: like rubies
on Tibetan toes.
©1997, 2011 Katherine Anne Harris. All Rights Reserved.