Her Lips Tectonic

Her Lips Tectonic – Raye Hendrix


I read once about earthquakes

how they’re caused when fissures


in the earth spread open

and I’ve forgotten the word for it


but it’s something like

what I told a girl I used to love


one July night beneath her

in the clover-grass: told her


to watch how her father’s blue

hydrangeas pushed against


the fence, see the way

the thin vines fingered


through the rain-softened

wood, told her how eventually


it would break down

the posts if the tender ends


weren’t pruned. She pinched

one off and pressed the severed


twist against my mouth

held it there with her own lips


and said she understood

said maybe that’s how people


break down too—but now

I love a man who studies bodies


of water, the way they split

the earth: slowly, only stealing


a few inches of ground

every hundred or so years.


I ask how something soft

can break a world of stone



ask him to name the thing

that causes earthquakes.


He says they’re called fault

lines in the study of tectonics


tells me how water finds

the cracks and freezes, how


it pushes out—but he says

nothing of clover or hydrangeas


or the way the fences fail

to hold the soft parts in.