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by Robert Fanning

jarðskjálfti // earthquake

Do you not understand what it means to be broken? Allow me to translate.

That kinked neck: bedrock shift. Your sore hip: deep quake. Strange ache:

plate slip. I’m landsea. A pain that comes in waves. Go on, rate me. Mercalli,

Richter, moment magnitude. Measured or not, I’m here. It’s nobody’s fault,

skáld—you can’t scale me on any shakemap. I’m what the earth is trying to

say, which is: remember fire. Which is: forget your calm. Nights you lie awake

trembling? I speak through your bones. Better learn to move with me. I’ll open

the ground if I have to. I’ll wreck you, if you make me. To make you new.


Robert Fanning (he/him) is the author of five full-length collections of poetry: Cage (forthcoming), Severance, Our Sudden Museum, American Prophet, and The Seed Thieves, as well as two chapbooks, Sheet Music and Old Bright Wheel. His poems have appeared in Poetry, Ploughshares, Shenandoah, Gulf Coast, The Atlanta Review, Waxwing, THRUSH, Diode, The Cortland Review, The Common, and many other journals. He is the founder/facilitator of the Wellspring Literary Series in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, and the Director of PEN/INSULA POETRY, a resource for Michigan poets. For more information, visit:


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