The intervals between trains are shrinking,
streetlights shaking —
one or two blink out
with every repercussion.
Planes fly lower and lower,
guard dogs whimper, and
every so often
a seismograph flutters
as if to warn us
that the orbits are out of whack,
that waves rake the ocean floors
and the hairs on the backs of cats
stand on end
because something unparalleled
is about to happen.
Light a candle, stock the cupboard —
alarms and sirens
have cancelled the silence.
Pay no attention to screams or the jitters —
when someone bolts, everyone bolts.
Whatever you say, say nothing —
as a bystander
amongst the panic and the vomit,
do nothing and nothing will bend.
© Toby Fitch
(published in Southerly, 2011)
“Makes me feel as if I’m reeling on my feet, as if I were facing a swooning, malevolent abyss.” —Judith Beveridge
Toby Fitch’s Rawshock was a co-winner of the Grace Leven Poetry Prize, 2012. It can be purchased directly through http://puncherandwattmann.com/books/book/rawshock