by Teresa Iverson
Crosses, humbled swords, pierce
the hillsides. From the cemetery
we look down onto cherry tree,
aspen, and rose, to where monks
with ritual plantings and incantation
are suturing earth’s seams. Half-sprung
beyond the trail, like words bit back
on the lips of creation’s wound,
boulders lie tumbled in the sand.
On this high desert ground,
they say the Fault begins, Faith
in invisible things revealing
the yoke between myth and
science: the wind blusters,
magma chiaroscuros, earth’s
boiling eye blinks at the sun—
blond lion, roaring boy. . . .
Walking over the waves to Jesus,
Peter starts to sink.
Like pleats of a fan, the fact line
unfolds, ranges into mountains,
reefed archipelagoes. A mole
on its journey presses along
pursuing lines on the map
highlighted behind its eyelids,
and a slither of sand grains down a fissure,
potent as a seismic wave, sends the toddler
dancing on the altar-top plein air
straight into his mother’s arms.
Copyright © 2011 by Teresa Iverson.
*The Benedictine Monastery St. Andrews in the high desert north
of Los Angeles is near the town Valyermo—“barren valley” in Spanish—said to be
located above the point of origin of the San Andreas Fault.