a l e x a n d r a     m a t t r a w

 

 

Reconstruction : Christchurch, New Zealand


Inside the Construction: The Day Before the Burial


Eros









































Reconstruction : Christchurch, New Zealand

 

we go inside to look for damage
in cracked sheer walls buckled high beams
without much light / we wander / lanes visibly
leaning and partially collapsed / The Grand Chancellor /
precariously steadied by neighborhood buildings
/ we perform / emergency / reassessments particularly for
movement must be guided / by what is
heaviest / I feel each sticker to label
trauma green, yellow, or red / surfaces
categorize / the firemen standing over parapets fallen
gargoyles decimated facades shatter
skylight / shadows longer now / everywhere
aftershocks / four times a day or the possibility
of joy thickens bricks bricks bricks on streets
/ we’re told were cleared / of dead pigeons
drying / squashed toads / in summer heat
you can’t enter / a red building / or anything
/ opening so / without a charter to grant
a search warrant for the ten-story / tenfold /
wreckage in the lobby café gathering safety
glass around tables abandoned / islands harbor
half eaten bacon and eggs rotting / the urban rescue /
debris away from / cell phones lost
to their own rings still piling hasty
overgreased basements flooding a blue glow
/ muddy water / floats through the unsold
TV sets from the 70s storage unit
/ we count / how many seismologists it takes
to fail what substantially broken
/ or free of severe injury / can really mean
to measure the number of cracked wineglass-
claws green bottle rims searing / our
demand for a lifeline / water and power
/ systems wired / into sewer nests of black sludge
and CPR dummies where our / our / can’t collapse
or at least not everyone will ever get out
/ alive /

next









































Inside the Construction: The Day Before the Burial

   

next









































Eros

 

A sea settles a dock of breath
across summer.  Invisible chimney heat
rises in unused bricks, thickening neat
New England hours.  Our mouths arrest
light.  Threshing dune grass sweats
your pale blouse blown out, dressed in cloud
crease and evening.  Does all such water allow
addiction? Or, is this where need begins?
 In wave-crest
you construct a piano.  Of ivory caps you demand
message.  Wind performs seaweed strings, beer bottles green
we collect to whisper fog. Clam shells desert flesh. Sand
opens twin crab husks gutting voice lap.
Our white beach umbrella pitched by land-lean :
A dress flipped back to sea we’ll never reach.

next

ALEXANDRA MATTRAW’s chapbook, Projection, is available through Achiote Press. A former Vermont Studio Center resident, her poems have also appeared in journals such as Denver Quarterly, VOLT, and American Letters and Commentary and are forthcoming in RealPoetik, Diagram, and 1913: A Journal of Forms. Alexandra lives in San Francisco.


I S S N     1 5 5 9 - 6 5 6 7