Jacqueline Lyons

Morning Quake

A daybreak-truncating quake shortly after dawn today replaced wide-eyed morning with chainsaw, with broken, with leaf blower and abbrev

Numinous residents have been reporting threats to wide-eyed morning for at least 12 years—attacks on shine, dreams saddled, threshold bridges collapsed

“Everything is a poem,” sang a resident of seven continents, equally at home everywhere, gazing at a shovel glazed with smog—then a backhoe interrupted

Seismologists with the U.S. Geological Survey said they would be closely monitoring those still connected to wide-eyed morning, vibrations felt by bare feet in the kitchen, by claws in the sand, and tone when greeting a toad discovered to have spent the night inside

The quake was felt as far to the north as the frayed hem of a light bulb’s skirt of light, and as far to the south as mistaking the temporary for the permanent

The mind colonizing quakes had happened before, and would probably happen again every weekday about this time unless—

“I’ve never really felt part and parcel of wide-eyed morning before”, said a geologist, driving his van exceptionally fast, hoping to blur different species of trees into one clonal grove

“Wide-eyed morning’s undeniable rhythms”, explained a seismologist with a rich interior life, pressing her ear to the ground

Like a bird coming down the walk, except the ground made of water, the bird born of light

Officials who were in the habit of not listening to other officials agreed that the wide-eyed morning newscaster’s voice echoed earth’s blue rolling motion.


Friday's Quake

Today’s quake was centered in betrayal, which was preferable to being ignored, said the U.S. Geological Survey

“Alaska,” said a seismologist in a tiny office, thinking of the remote park with no entrance while opening a can of imported salmon

The quake would probably be packed and unpacked, folded and unfolded, buoyed and collapsed, attributing intention without changing the content

Resident Andreas Santi reported being unable to shake the image of a hand held behind a back, fingers closing and unclosing

Other residents reported feeling “terrible” and tried telling themselves “It’s okay to feel this”

Babies who were honestly crying and were comforted with “Let’s go shopping” cried harder, and harder still, when wet from the water of wasted tears

There were reports of aftershocks, during which someone did some science, and others studied the benefits of occasional paranoid fantasies, like someone hiding in their closet waiting for them to come home

It is likely that in the coming weeks city officials will look into eco–loneliness—the latest and oldest of its kind—and covering the world in leather instead of putting on a pair of shoes.


Sunday's Quake

Today’s quake was centered in a fascination with variety among human beings, their ruined bellies, and those beach chairs with individual umbrellas attached

What was unusual was alertness to the variety of colors of bougainvillea always present

The quake would likely be studied for how it affected the pulse, said a seismologist, and for how it affected the sense of a solid earth, said a pulsologist

“People are very different,” the U.S. Geological Survey reported at a news conference, looking at portraits of Salvador Dali, Gertrude Stein, and Crazy Horse

One resident with an eye color hard to discern said her mode of packing for a day at the beach or for an emergency was “to bring as much as possible,” while another said she told her kids the opposite, and looked around for approval

The quake was typical for how quickly people got used to the shaking, and how they voted to suffer separately instead of gathering in the town hall

The quake struck approximately ten minutes after the customer service industry decided to replace the human voice with computer–generated sound

The quake was felt as far to the south as the street you didn’t grow up on, called Floating Cloud, and as far to the north as the current of air created by a woman’s elbows as she turned away from her children and the ocean to do something on her phone.


Jacqueline Lyons is the author of The Way They Say Yes Here (Hanging Loose Press), which won a Peace Corps Writers Best Poetry Book Award, and Lost Colony (Dancing Girl Press). She has received a National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship, the Indiana Review Poetry Prize, Utah Arts Council Awards in both Poetry and Nonfiction, and a Nevada Arts Council Fellowship in Nonfiction. Her poetry and essays have appeared in AGNI, Barrow Street, Bellingham Review, Colorado Review, Fourth Genre, Sonora Review, and many other journals. An Assistant Professor of English–Creative Writing at California Lutheran University, she is currently completing a book of lyric nonfiction and a collection of poems that explores edges, ecology, and emergency through the imagery and science of earthquakes.