The 309 Collective

Michelle Bi: “terra firma”

terra firma

slow slip: an earthquake that ages. the ground
moves beneath my feet. i learn to walk for the first
time, again, and the fawns name me a natural.

i built my home on a fault line.
so when i stumble and i wake the earth,
california trembles. births canyons

that scar. i apologize to these four walls,
the floorboards, the windows across which voices
play like water in sunlight.

the ground moves under my feet.
i watch it all sway in an earthbound wind
as the trees become acquainted with their roots.

gravity introduces itself to the forest, born
from soil and dust, holds out its hand.
true north veining through crust.

i beg this house for mercy and
this house is my body which
i cannot imagine beautiful.

in the stillness before dawn, something pulses neon
in the spilled blood on the dried up riverbed.
i name it humanity.

and now the rocks in the sand
do not respond to my calls. i am small
at the bottom of this hole i unearthed myself

in the field. skin meets shovel and melds.
calluses branded and reborn,
blood dripping to sun shaded dirt.

i do not deserve this
home and this home
is me.

slow slip: the ground moves beneath
my feet. i am a natural
disaster that only grows older.


This is the first of a series of writings from members of The 309 Collective, a group made up of 11 teen poets, writers, musicians & artists. Follow them on their Instagram: @the309collective

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