Good Friday, April 1969, 3 P.M.

It was predicted that California would experience a massive earthquake resulting in the
entire state breaking off and sinking into the sea.

They say the earth will break today.
They say we should stay at home.
There is nothing we can do.
A Good Friday without an Easter.

My friends say see you after vacation.
My parents talk about dinner at McDonald’s
followed by a movie
at the drive-in theatre.

They don’t believe.
I believe.

3 p.m. is an endless wall
with nothing behind it.
A palsied afternoon,
the ground will tremble
like the chin of a sobbing face.
Then the sea will come from far away,
a green stampede of unwanted horses
growing in my bedroom window,
closer, closer.

Then these walls will come down,
the ceiling will weep,
my bed, my books, my records
all evilly stirred and bubbling
in the sea’s sudden cauldron,
my jackets, blouses, jeans
pulled from the closet,
churning like struggling swimmers.

Then I will go wild,
my face a mask of sea,
a silent explosion of arms and legs and hair

as I perform a final dance
of slow water
at precisely 3 p.m.
I will be on time.

Shoes

Pairs of perfectly preserved leather shoes were found at the bottom of the
sea among the debris of the Titanic.

They say people were wearing them
as they went down,
shoes full of skin and bone
gently escorting the body,
slowly,
never letting go,
faithful to the bottom.

The bodies dissolved
leaving a haunting of black leather
on the sea floor,
pairs of shoes with perfect soles and heels
lying sideways or upside down
as if kicked off by tired legs at bedtime.

Many disagree,
saying the shoes were not worn
but packed in suitcases or bags
that also dissolved
leaving the shoes stranded
in awkward positions unnatural
to feet and legs.

Whether worn or packed,
a sadness of unworn shoes
is in that sea,
shoes that have failed,
that have lost the feet they were meant
to protect, keep warm.

How many floors had the shoes
moved along before they floated down
to rest on their final floor,
seawater filling them
like the mouths of the drowned,
but leaving them

like headstones forever marking the spots
where the dead lay down
in the sad magic of the dark
that would make them disappear.

Horse

Every day my husband comes into the house,
his clothes speckled with wood shavings,
fairy dust from the secret spells
he casts alone in his rustic castle
at the back of the garden.

A horse is growing
in the black and white silence
of a bad winter,
the worst in decades.

My husband’s arms
are umbilical cords
feeding and warming the horse,
magically scraping, carving,
moulding him into
a perfect embryo of pale horse
floating in wooden silence,
his stalled head and legs
filled with dreams of sweet winds
and galloping,
his face blank,
waiting for eyes, a mouth,
and color.

In spring
my husband’s wizards’ hands
will breathe color onto the horse,
place a pole into his fresh back
like a flag planted
to claim a foreign land

then let the horse go free
to swirl in carousel circles,
man and horse
full of wild hooves and calliope music

up and down, up and down, and around
an enchanted dance of
birth and music
together.