The Mechanics of Survival
I smoked my first cigarette next to a trashcan
spray-painted W-R-S-H-P —
a call to worship in the bowels
of Will Rogers State Historic Park.
I sucked down my last
the day a Boeing 737 dove into the sea outside Bali,
and all one hundred and eight passengers
survived. Let’s tell more stories
like this one. About how to stay alive.
About the time buildings yielded to the earth
on my right, while the ocean soared
scraper-high on my left.
The planet in seizures,
I begged pardon for the years I’d wished to die,
and gunned it like the Israelites
wild across the split sea.
My husband materialized next to me.
Then twelve of us. Forty more. And in the end,
nine billion, hand in hand,
charged from our erupting world.
I woke next to the yellow note
taped to my wall — a handwritten list
of the people I love
and the mountains they’ve slipped from.
Each morning, I touch their names.
I picture the friend, the sister,
then picture the sun
pulling for us between wreckage and waves —
a hand in a crevice feeling for a lost ring.about the author