Northridge – Brian Yapko


The evening battle augured the earthquake.
I shouted, tippled and vapored into
the troubled sleep of the self-damned,
despairing of our vows and the lie of identity
I needed  to survive you.
I dreamt roughly of Michelangelo and
athletes on Greek urns, until jolted awake to the
cacophony of mountains disintegrating —
a roar so thrilling to the eardrum and marrow it
surely emanated from God Himself.
The world broke in a tsunami of liquifaction,
That brutal cry of Earth’s crust grinding to dust!
soil alchemized into quicksand…  The sky
reddened as houses erupted, shining lurid light
on our troubled home cracked open at the seams.
We shook off shock, licked off the blood and
gazed at the fragmented chaos of our life,
now reduced to crystal shards and jagged edges,
even our photographs shredded by the very glass
we had sealed them in for protection. 
My numb was the opposite of your hysteria. As you
blamed me for the tilting of the Earth, the cracking
foundations, the decimation of every replaceable
treasure, I wondered silently at what the Voice
had said to me through the roar of the catastrophe.
And in the rubble of what we had built I found
the courage to tell you the truth – finally willing
to risk the shift of tectonic plates and to rebuild
my life, no matter the cost, in the wake of the
seismic upheaval that had sundered us in two.

Brian Yapko is a lawyer in three states. His poems have appeared in Prometheus Dreaming, Tofu Ink, K’in Literary Journal, Sparks of Calliope, Wingless Dreamer, Gyroscope, Cagibi, Penumbra, the Society of Classical Poets, Grand Little Things, Chained Muse, Abstract Elephant, Poetica and a number of other publications. Two of his children’s plays have been published, and he is currently completing his first science fiction novel. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his husband, Jerry, and their canine child, Bianca. 

Photo: “Capitol Reef” by naturenps