Collective Unrest

 

Galosta

March 27, 2019

I.

When Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, her baby leapt in her womb.

II.

Eight years ago this month my sister and I watched women selling shawls at the gates of Vatican City slinging modesty for women’s shoulders on display

a hot July, as if God could be offended by the curves he had created.

In the hallway you wait for me transfixed by the rows of lacrimaria.

In the chapel we are reminded at intervals to view Michelangelo’s work quietly by a man on a podium in the middle of the room whose sole purpose is to whisper silenzio.

III.

In the summer in our car looking out on the flat back of the valley I drive you to the courthouse

sky greying in the distance

the stillness of the air, us, a warm yolk.

IV.

In the Middle Ages we invented engastration:

a full dish in a dish in a dish, three animals deboned and placed one inside the other.

V.

You in a box in a room in a hall.

You are now to tell the jury what it means to meet someone on their darkest day,

suspending disbelief, waiting in this hallway an antiseptic slow disaster, swearing to tell the truth at an arm’s length-

Was she afraid?

Did she furtively bring her possessions to your home?

What of the fire?

Who held the knife?

The animal of your body is tender and I embrace it, fingers on the ridges of your pithy spine.

VI.

An egg, sublime, Schroedinger constructing an omelet or a flock or both

meaty and needy

hunger and hungry

Today a volcano engulfed twenty six island homes

on the screen we watch the outline of a man run down a street, asphalt and lava flows; I didn’t know that fire could start another separate fire.

It’s the slow heat of disaster, and

knowing the land may be eaten alive and

you seeing smoke from afar layercake of magma advancing receding hungry hungry and slow.

 

 

Jill Bergantz Carley lives in Calaveras County, California. Her work is forthcoming from Opossum, Silver Needle Press, and Argot Magazine this fall. Her day job in engineering keeps her out of trouble.

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