Inactive Fault, With Echoes

Kathy Fagan reading “Inactive Fault, With Echoes”

Rain won’t fall, won’t fall and won’t.
When I learned the word virga

I learned how full a cloud could be, 
Every word worth an extended visit,

Visit meaning to both comfort and afflict.
Small fingers falling, not falling, 

Smaller even than curbside locust leaves.
I had a wife once, Dad says,

Whatever happened to your mother?
There’s a fault near here

That hasn’t moved in thirty years.
We are our own seismic shift.

Vertical lines on my fingers
Could be my mother’s. Leaves

Don’t change as much as crisp
In this weather. Catalpa twists in place.

We cause pain, and relief from pain.
The rain won’t fall.

Whatever happened to your mother
Was probably my fault, Dad says.

Remembering is dangerous, he says,
When I remind him.

My small fingers once recoiled 
From amoebas pictured in the science book.

The breasts of the women at his facility
Rest quietly on their bellies,

Ghost bellies, their elbow- and ear-lobes.
I lost her somehow, Dad says.

The van there reads, Angels on Assignment.
Catalpa twists in place,

Its many green ears follow a voice
As you leave.

Visit me. Visit me soon.
I want the earth to lose us first.

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