georgia says you're never coming back
shaanxi, 1556

my father’s fingers quiver
whenever an earthquake is near.

he comes home from 12 hour shifts 
with hunched shoulders and cracks across his arms
from all the broken pieces of the human body
he held that night.

"tonight, a girl died and her eyes lit up for a moment
and she cried out: look at these stars.”

his voice is heavy and overwhelming,
tipping over with languid sorrow that moves
from his fingers to his vocal chords
to settle like dust and ash at the bottom of his lungs.

in the mornings, he wakes early and breaks apples
with his palm and his fist
and i’m not sure whether he wants to save anymore.

before my mother left, she said, you have an earthquake
shuddering beside your bones and i cannot live
with a natural disaster; the ruins of shaanxi, 1556
should have taught you something.

listen: the visceral layer of the pericardium
touches the heart muscle and my mother’s
is like the inside of an apple peel, bruised
beyond belief.

my father learned the difference between patients
and patience, and some nights the dead outweigh the living;
some nights my father comes home split open,
shaking, an earthquake shifting beneath his skin.

some nights all he can do is close his eyes
and wait for the aftershocks.

1 year ago | 101 notes
101 notes
tagged as: poetry. first draft. prose. creative writing. spilled ink.

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