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Saturday, March 06, 2010


by Mary A. Turzillo

The sudden movement of tectonic plates that triggered the February 27th quake in central Chile shifted immense masses of rock a few meters closer to Earth’s core, tilting the planet’s axis a few centimeters and imperceptibly shortening the day.
--Science News, March 3, 2010

Earth, you hitched up your skirt,
and shaking your hot flashy flesh
triggered those big tremblor twitchings.

First number, a Haitian death-mereng:
two hundred thousand trampled
underneath your bloody heels.
But that didn't do it;
it took the second step, that cueca chilata,
a dance like the rhumba,
mimicking roosters and hens
hot to do bedroom flamencos,

to send your rotation arsy-turvy
tip you flat off your axis --
what were you drinking, señora?
That pisco sour a bit too fuerte?

Or that empanada,
served up on the Nazca plate,
maybe too picante:
made your gut rumble like planets colliding?

Ah, Earth, you tectonic hoofer:
you chose Chile
not just for its eponymous pepper,
but for its slogan:
Por la razón o la fuerza.
By reason or by force.

You made our day a beat shorter.
So impatient, my hot-blooded planet!
You just can't wait the full 24 hours:
for your end-of-day party.

Where next will you dance?

Mary A. Turzillo is a science fiction writer who has had a few poems on The New Verse News.   Her most recent poetry collection is Your Cat & Other Space Aliens (vanZeno, 2007).   Her collaboration with Marge Simon, The Dragon's Dictionary, will appear this April from Sam's Dot.