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some kind of immense indiscernible shift is going on in the world

Julie Berry
From:   Walnut-Cracking Machine.


bermuda is known to have slid out from under wyoming years ago i am a teacher i teach the rocky mountains draw cross-sections on the blackboard which is flat and black and comes from ordovician guck the bilateral spreading of the ocean floor has always excited me i know uplifting accelerates erosion and because the atlantic is spread wide europe will probably never hit you in nevada still you can never be sure look at bermuda--warm and pink under kansas one minute--under yakutat alaska the next

i sit in the vinyl chair with wooden arms on 2A the ward where my son spent christmas and where he will spend his twenty-first birthday with hortense bird chuckie phillip and smoothy some with privileges some without i watch diehard with hortense my son and the others wander in and out it's hortense's favourite something big like bermuda moves deep beneath the hospital something big and memorable like the first of my father's convertibles

i visit my son every day my mother has a car says phillip when i pass him in the hall up on 2A my mother's not a seamstress he tells everyone i watch my son play solitaire in the empty tv room chuckie shouts musically from a locked side room i want to f------u-----c-----k you i want to f----u----c----k you i want to f---u----c----k you and your mother and your grandmother i want to f------u-----c-----k you he bangs bangs bangs on the door of the room where they put you if you're a danger to yourself or others after a few weeks i notice i have begun to talk like phillip that friendly newsy way he tells you things my mother has a car she is not a seamstress

it's true our minds began to leap and boil one sunny day in the pleistocene worms turn into butterflies bats see with their ears some young men go mad in the prime of their youth and other young men do not if pennsylvania collides with utah if a new ocean forms east of california and west of the grand canyon and the continent of north america tips and slides under the atlantic we'll sing all of us who know something about madness we'll sing and sing and sing until hawks cliff erodes into lake erie proving aunt jane right and finally after all those red-haired years of never wearing pink and never being the tallest or the fastest hortense bird recently widowed will pose like a goddess for the men who never wanted her in 1977



Julie Berry's works copyright © to the author.


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