Richter Scale

By TARA SKURTU

Our first week, you showed me around
your empty capital in a dream. We skipped

Parliament and headed down Calea Victoriei,
lit beeswax candles for the living,


drank jasmine tea at Serendipity, then
a big one hit. I would’ve asked

what happened next, but I was in it, I knew,
I could feel it: you’d have saved yourself

if it weren’t for each day you forget how.
You’re like that musicologist I’ve read about—

seventeen-second memory. Every 3.4
blinks, forgets what he’s forked into his mouth,

his daughter’s name, his own. Every I
he writes, once written, a trick

of someone else’s hand. He remembers
composition, and he remembers his wife.

Every time he sees her he’s seeing her
for the first time in ten years, and he wants

to waltz. Every time she walks into his room
she steps around a box. I am this wife.

I’m stuck in your village, walking
a chicken on a leash. He pecks the ring of sun-

flower seeds around this house on Lavender Street
—lavender in another language. We’re stuck

in November, he and I, waiting for you
to walk into the side yard, past the little black

dog tunneling a lattice of wormholes in the dirt.

 

 

Tara Skurtu teaches Creative Writing at Boston University, where she received a Robert Pinsky Global Fellowship and an Academy of American Poets Prize. 

Emma CroweRichter Scale

Related Posts

A fenced-in tiger at a zoo in The Bronx.

On Zoos

HANNAH GERSEN
The tiger was showing off, pacing alongside his swimming pond, looking as if he might jump in at any moment... At least twenty people held up phones to capture the moment on video. My five-year-old son stood by the glass divider, watching, rapt. Several feet away… I observed the tiger’s pixelated clones prowling across tiny screens.

Corregidor Island ruins

Corregidor Flames

CLINTON CROCKETT PETERS
Ironic that the only other eternal flame I’ve visited is in Hiroshima. That one an actual fire that takes a bleaker look, burning until the last nuclear bomb is disassembled. And which will outlast, I wonder, bombs or freedom?

The Immovable Ladder at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Jerusalem

Dream Ladders

MATTHEW SCHULTZ
What we are dealing with, then, is not one ladder but two.  One sits on a balcony, and the other lives in dreams. One was left behind, and the other was consciously placed to appear as though it had been left behind.  One is unmoved, and the other is immovable.