Moving but not,
on top of the drifting apart,
the shaping of continents, the nation of
Cascadia lost in the salt marsh
and mud. The orphan traveling
5,000 miles, 300 years to Vancouver. Kobe. Seattle.
Like two cheese graters rubbing,
the TV geologist says. A gesture. Like this. The wind and water turning.
The siren as we crawled under the desks, our backs to the snow in Russia.
The Chinese teacher says, Children, put your hands
over your heads.
Like this. Remember? Many were killed, many
canoes were flung into trees.
Kathleen Hellen is a poet and the author of Umberto’s Night (2012) and The Girl Who Loved Mothra (2010). Her poems are widely published and have appeared in American Letters & Commentary, Barrow Street, Cimarron Review, Evergreen, Nimrod, Poetry Northwest, Prairie Schooner, Rattapallax, Sycamore Review, and Witness, among others, and were featured on WYPR’s The Signal.