One work of art that follows another
strikes sometimes like an aftershock set loose
by the first where the plates slip along faults
in your mind. Smaller or larger tremors
follow, and although you tell yourself this
is creation, you see the temple walls
clawed down. Stones cascade from spires. Chasms
that spread through roads keep you from going
home. You’re forced to wander the forest tracks,
climbing the ridgebacks, surviving on luck,
not knowing where the catastrophe ends,
what hill-town you’ll settle in, given time,
O refugee, broken by what you’ve loved,
shattered by forces miles beneath the ground.
Joseph Chaney’s poetry has appeared in The Nation, Prairie Schooner, Crazyhorse, Black Warrior Review, Dogwood, Spillway, and other print journals. You can access his poems online at Apple Valley Review, South Florida Poetry Journal, Off the Coast, Valparaiso Poetry Review, The Ekphrastic Review, and The Journal of Humanistic Mathematics. He teaches literature and writing at Indiana University South Bend, where he is director of Wolfson Press.
Image: “Smurfette Eye Contact” by Daniel Nester