Yvonne Higgins Leach



Earth stretches


her tight skin,


                                    giving permission


to the thaw, the planting,


the red tulips


                                    that now open


like mouths, exposing their centers.



I, too, gave permission.


                        Now my skin


bulges from the life


rooted to mine.



As I tug


at the roots of prickly weeds,


the robins


                        circulate among the trees.


The flowering plum


dances when the rain


                                    nudges its petals.



I am the earth


in her birth month,


                                    in the knees of spring,


in her particulars


of forsythia that create a chorus


                                                on branches,


of hyacinth stems


in lengthening repetition,


                                    of halos of dew.






Dealing with Catastrophe


Landscaped with food—
a forest of salad,
tributaries of pasta noodles,
steaks on plates like hills—
the table shifts slightly.


The baby shoves bread into her mouth.
Pouring cloudy wine into the wells of our glasses,
my father toasts to our communion.
The soft-lit chandelier splashes
stars on the ceiling.
Glass rims clink, fragile as thin ice.


Then the radio news breaks in:


San Francisco
Evening rush hour
The two-tiered Nimitz Freeway collapses


The baby squirms.
I quiet her with a cucumber slice,
kiss her forehead.
We tell what we heard
over a jazz ensemble,
return to steaks and wine
and a general conversation about earthquakes,
the only way we know how:
about Richter scales
and Uncle Pat, who was a seismologist.
All the while ignoring the truth
of the San Andreas Fault stretching
her stiff bones.

Yvonne Higgins Leach







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