National Poetry Month: THE SEISMOLOGIST’S TALE by Jessica Bozek
The Seismologist’s Tale
by Jessica Bozek
It was fall and the soldier’s stories made
human piles of the citizens.
He went directly to the center of the town
and his stories spiraled outward. The few
who tried to flee were held by his soothing
voice. The citizens stopped. They grew tired
and leaned. They grew tired and sat. Engines
idled. They grew tired and sought other
bodies to entwine with theirs. Warm slow
cotton piles formed throughout the town.
The ground grew heavy.
The center of the town sunk first. The earth’s
tilt was perceptible only to the animals, who
knew the soldier as an earthquake-maker.
But this tremor moved in a different way,
had a different shape. It coned. Most dogs
avoided the soldier’s circles, kept watch
from the town’s edge. Most dogs detected in
the soldier’s voice a sense of mission. They
detected a master beyond the soldier, though
the soldier had all the trappings of an alpha
The leaves were thin on the trees. By the
time the soldier made his final circles, only
children who hadn’t learned the words
remained awake. Without language they felt
the leaves and the leaving.
This poem is from issue 39.1. You may purchase a copy here.