Two Poems: Lauren Loftis

Poetry: Lauren Loftis

Old Issaquah mine entrance, once sealed, is slowly reopening1

Machine sludge
and methane gas
soaking into rock,
cannot be
what they mean
when they say
history is
beneath us.

The base
of my hometown:
white rot
a rain-swelled
in collapse.
They say
if you fall in
there’s not
an emergency crew
in the country
that can rescue you
from the mines.

But I’m not sure
what mutual memory
if it’s teeth
or a gushing
wound trying
to clog
itself shut.
If it swallows
the evergreens,
the land
we built
our homes on.
If we have fallen,
are falling,
or are just
built up
from empty

Reading the American Image

The truth is,
I don’t care
about the way
the river
rinses wide
the clay fault
edges. There is
light, a crumpled
tremor. Sun-nerves
cracking pulse
and line drifts
through all
touched things.

It could never
have been about
the eye, that I,
but imagine
if it were:
at our best,
the town
gone under.
The planet shown
in free-fall
with signs
of arterial
decay. The creeks

now above
our heads—
the Greeks,
from polished wood.
Space just another word
for arrhythmia,
though St. Augustine
is too polite
to say it. Just asks,
“What is time?”
as morning
measures earth
in insect shadow.
As if we could be selfish
in the face
of all that memory.
Don’t forget:
there is still the matter
of this dying animal
to perform.

Lauren Loftis’ work has appeared in Yemassee and The Boiler. She received her MFA from the University of Montana.


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1. April 14, 2006, Seattle Times Eastside Bureau article by Sherry Grindeland