The way falling planes at night believe
in their lit runways, the way basketball
players shooting the turnaround believe
in the swishing sound of nets, the way
even the steepest inland cataracts
believe in oceans, I believed in you.
That’s not exactly true. There were times
when imaginary earthquakes sent double-decker
highways crashing down on my car, trapping
me for days, legs mangled and pinned under the dash,
the radio stuck, out of reach, playing country
tunes over and over whiny and sad.
There were years when rivers refuted oceans,
when everything I shot went around-and-out,
when planes stayed grounded by strikes and metal
fatigue—their swollen empty bellies betrayed.
So to say that planes fly, hoopsters hoist
or rapids froth with full expectation
of deliverance overstates the shaky
crystal case rattling in the temblor.
And the temblor, which we know is coming,
believes nothing, refuses queries, and lives
to break all claims: tarmac, court, drop-per-mile,
me, you, and us—every damn and blessed thing.