Today's poem is by Alexandra Oliver

The Promise We Made to the Earthquake

I'm going to turn my back on death, forsaking
fatalistic anomie. I'll forge
a human heart from rogue tectonic plates,
a way to make the flocks of birds return.
I'll wait until the church has ceased to burn,
the arms to pull away from iron gates,
rebel against geology in rage.
I swear I'll do it when my hands stop shaking.

I'm going to turn the world back by a day,
raise stone walls and conjure panes of glass
from mournful piles of sand and broken streets.
I'll tell my neighbour what he means to me,
give back his toaster, skis, and new TV.
I'll make the rude wind raise tarpaulin sheets
and let them part until the children pass
to parents resurrected from the clay.

I'm turning over fifty-two new leaves.
I'm going to speak with kindness to my wife
and tell my baser thoughts to disappear.
I will not steal my brother's medications,
fake illness at my in-laws' celebrations,
or make my office intern weep in fear.
I fell apart so I could make my life
a binding deal within a den of thieves.

I swear to you that, when the ground stops shaking,
I'll put this day behind me like a dream.
I'll step out with my ordinary hands,
clear lumber and lay bricks for twenty years,
re-irrigate the gardens with my tears,
endeavour to be one who understands
how our own better angels can redeem
a country from the hell of earth's own making.

Copyright © 2013 Alexandra Oliver All rights reserved
from Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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