I’ve felt tremors, but nothing to crack me open
or find a vein. We grow up on stories of
underground lakes, floods swallowing spires.
Water becomes both amulet and the ghost.
When splitting the stone is inevitable, I
wonder what tool it will take. I’ve polished
this sword enough, and the hilt is losing
its name. There is no pattern to how
or when we burst, even with seismographers
providing readouts and taking to the deserts.
The peaks from these needles become a fear for
priests, who are so used to doing the pointing
themselves. Without a text or
a science, we are armless anyway, the most
naked—a messy ritual with a makeshift altar.
Who can diagram this gushing?
Those with moon-glazed eyes and faces eclipsed
begin to wonder whether we are truly tidal. I
was never nursed by the celestial—born into the
movement beneath, I am still waiting for a trickle.
It’s thirst mistaken for hunger.
so many frequent eruptions
so little time for other weather
so much luck to have never drowned
in their own drink
witchcraft is likely to break
vials at the very least, with two
opposing chemicals always colliding.
How many take to slow excavation instead?
Where are the miners and dowsers searching
for a possible source? Who carries the crystals?
This kind of digging will take time.
But let’s find the right tools first—
a jeweled pommel
is not always possible, or even necessary.
we are fool’s gold, or just
spectrals of jade.
we are straight bone.
A disaster in ecstasy
can’t be all
we wait for.
JOSEPH DANTE lives in Plantation, Florida with his husband and two cats. His work has been featured in Permafrost, South Florida Poetry Journal, The Rumpus, Best Gay Stories 2015, PANK, Corium, and elsewhere. He was a finalist for the 2016 Lascaux Prize for Poetry.