Epicenter

 

Ryan Coffey

Originally published in The Evergreen Review Issue 113 in 2007.
 

With cold wind slipping from brisk
waters of the Elwha River,
coiling around me –

frosted topped waves
cresting cloudy teal
en route from the glacier peaks –

steep valley tributaries

bringing down
sediments of gabbro and granite,
stirring them to a brew of
stone soup in the bottom rapids

I sat on a dark boulder
just above the tonguing waters
scooping drink

This fleck of Earth,
seemingly settled with its ancient Douglas Firs –
giant skewers, gaunt in the failing light,
among mountains, sharp to the inch

Underneath,
where the world is so hot
it is orange with elasticity,
and rising with pressure,

bright tendrils extend
from bulbous magma plutons
and swell into the cracks
of rock shelving. There,
the plates grind, fixing into the earth – crust puzzle

On a dark boulder,
the shift of the world,
no me.