Christchurch, where I live, on
the last rock until Antarctica, New Zealand,
Ring of Fire, has in six years
endured eleven-thousand shudders
from minor palsies to full-blown seizures.
I’ve undergone most of them
including the infamous Big Ones nearly
a year apart, that tangled the roads
into Gordian knots (we’re still short
erased office blocks
and Neo-gothic churches, one hundred
and eighty-five dead, leaving
gap-toothed lacunae that the city-brain
must reconnect around, fill in
with fragments even as they fall to dust.
I begin every morning’s pain-points
with an anxiety attack to remind myself
I’m still alive.
One hundred and two miles south
sits in her chair.
is a careless thing to lose, much like a city.
I miss her so much even though I can
still pick up the phone and dial,
ablating quick-time in dog years
peeling off like onion skins, leaving
but she isn’t a city.
It’s more like she’s on a raft
drifting incrementally further into
a distant fogbank and it’s constantly
to shout loud enough for either of us
to hear the other.
The fear that one day she might not know me
is orders of magnitude
greater than any existential dread
of being felled by a falling chimney
or the ground
swallowing me up like Curtius in the Forum.
All of us are being hunted down by
tucked up in a fault line, hunkered up
in a clock tower ticking down or
some genomic Schrödinger’s Cat that
may or may not be lurking in your
Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid
waiting to ambush.
Being is the ultimate
Faustian bargain, a crap shoot with
dice loaded in the other bastards favour
but bloody hell we love it
more than the alternative.