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Published: Thu Jul 1 2010
Diego Isaias Hernández Méndez, Convertiendse en Characoteles / Sorcerers Changing into Their Animal Forms (detail), 2013, oil on canvas. Arte Maya Tz’utujil Collection.

Where the church cracked in the quake
we could open and see the people;
lines are decades old but invoke
those moments of being fearful.

The flooded gums that hold the river
are dying before red roots reach
foundations—prayers deliver
either too little or too much.

The sun pulls the town together—
hint of green, frosty mornings;
church door is locked to outsiders,
cracks follow mortar, bricks, bell rings.

John Kinsella’s new book of stories, Pantheism, is forthcoming in Australia in late 2020; his new book of poetry, Insomnia, is forthcoming from W. W. Norton next year also. His critical book Polysituatedness was published by Manchester University Press in 2016. His Activist Poetics: Anarchy in the Avon Valley was published in 2010 by Liverpool University Press. He is a fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge University, and professor of literature and environment at Curtin University, Western Australia. (updated 9/2019)

Kinsella’s Peripheral Light: Selected and New Poems was reviewed in AGNI Online by Eric McHenry

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