Laura McCullough The 2River View, 10.1 (2005)
Axis Around WhichListen

In Lakewood that weekend, three boys
died; the Sabbath, you know, and no one

could turn off the stove left on accidently
as night fell. And all weekend it burned,

and the family that believed, slept anyway,
and then the fire, and the trucks arrived

in 3.5 minutes, less than the average, but
not good enough. What now has fallen

on their heads, this mamma and poppa,
like all mammas and poppas who protect

their children and hold their hands up
to fend off the falling mountain of sky

and the world so tumblingly fertile
that it makes the head spin? As if each

of us were at the center of the earth,
the axis around which it all revolves.

Imagine your arms and legs extended,
the world depending on you, but you

know you’re inadequate every waking
minute and week and month and year

and millennium, and how you try so hard
until at last you can’t help but fall asleep.

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