Tuesday, May 26, 2015


They will exchange Souls with you. He remembers her as the girl from his village. He remembers his house by a red circle on the photograph. He remembers that she eats papaya, and he remembers her nose. India, he tells us, migrates north, as Tibet settles to the south. Kathmandu is the paper plate on the surface of a pool. Aftershocks are earth's grief. A man's head emerges from the rubble, white as stone, like my mother two hours after her death. Two metaphors do not make my mother a statue, the Himalayas a section of black foam, cut in ragged halves. The shock is that land dies, too. Mountains are bodies of evidence, stick to earth's slip. Mt. Everest just shrank an inch. “We cannot stay here, but where is there to go?”

--26 May 2015


Janet said...

A horrific earthquake--I heard a reporter say people were so traumatized they were more scared by the lighter aftershocks than by the original quake. I like how you're looking at it; I just have one problem with the man's white head emerging; I keep thinking if he emerges, he's alive, but if it's uncovered, he's dead, which it seems to me he must be. Other things could emerge.

Karen Skolfield said...

Ah, that quote at the end! I read a hiker's account of the earthquake - terrifying. I didn't have the alive/dead problem/thought that J had, although "head" could be "face" and that might make it clearer? But there's something intensely terrifying about someone's whole head exposed, and not just dead but un-alive and the rest of the body buried - I'm not sure what I'm saying here but I think it's a poem I will be thinking about all day. Oh, the paper plate line is just amazing.