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Fault Line

— Julie Feng

At what juncture of the sky
does a hill become a mountain?
At what fracture of rock-mass
does the earth begin to shake?

When a mother makes a choice
that’s not a choice to cross the strait,
whose slopes are eroded? Whose
sides ache? Whose scarps and dips scar?

There are four types of fault: strike-slip,
dip-slip, oblique-slip, and the audacity
to protect your children when the lines
on the map want to rift you away.

Hills collapse without root systems
to hold soil, hold off erosion, hold
in growth. Hills collapse anyway;
temblor after temblor after time.

My mother did not build our home
on the highest hill of the city.
She split the world apart with her
hands and pulled it towards the sky.


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