rock with vertical grooves


I can feel it in there sitting between my shoulder blades, I told my physical therapist, like weird energy that wants to get out but can’t, like a knot of neon light, like an emergency flight plan, a clenched fist, a miniature bus depot bustling with rush-hour commuters, like a runaway buzzsaw, a perpetual-motion somersault, the inhale before a primal scream or a photic sneeze, like a canister of mustard gas and an unpinned hand grenade, like a letter in the mailbox, a tea-kettle whistle, a phantom to-do list, like regret, like premonition, like viruses conferring on where to go next, like glacial advance, almost-petrichor, a spun ticket tumbler, vibration in the rails from an imminent freight train, a particle accelerator, a diamond drill, a frozen mocktail mixing up in the blender, like an egg released from an ovary, a flutter kick, a stutter step, an overfilled quiver, like thermohaline circulation and the deep ocean currents. I can’t make it stop. Okay, she said.

: a minor earthquake, esp. a foreshock or an aftershock (see seismic event, temblor).

Karen Donovan is the author of Aard-vark to Axolotl, a collection of tiny stories and essays inspired by the illustrations in a vintage Webster’s dictionary. Her books of poems are Planet Parable, Your Enzymes Are Calling the Ancients, and Fugitive Red. Her new collection, Monad + Monadnock, is forthcoming from Wet Cement Press. She lives in East Providence, RI, way too close to the water.

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