Fable with Omens and Hazard Map

by Jane Satterfield Issue: Fall 2017 Special Issue on Extinction

Oklahoma deemed earthquake country as manmade tremors increase. 
                                                                                     —
Reuters, April 23, 2015

In tales, a single raven sends regards
while poised or preening on a roof,

but our flocks of seismographs
bring no better luck—the hazard map’s

a dreamland of super-dives where regulars
run up a tab for rounds of bargain beer

to toast induced seismicity. Clocks stop,
you dream of muddy water, an owl flies

at noon. What we can say with certainty
is that gastronomy’s ground-shaking,

delivered to temperate anterooms in decent
intervals. The wait’s not bad with real-time

feed, a chilled Campari, the fore-and after-
shocks. Oil-dressed ripe spring greens

suggest links between injection wells, specific
faults—for counterpoint, there’s fresh & funky

shake-out drills. Your glass holds the moon’s
reflection, three butterflies crest a single bloom,

a rabbit runs across your path. Doppelgängers enter
damage data—it helps to have the felt response.

When dogs begin to howl at an open door, secure
your space & hold on until the shaking stops.


Jane Satterfield

Jane Satterfield has received awards in poetry from the NEA, Bellingham Review, Ledbury Poetry Festival, Mslexia, and more. Her books of poetry are Her Familiars, Assignation at Vanishing Point, Shepherdess with an Automatic, and Apocalypse Mix, winner of the 2016 Autumn House Poetry Prize selected by David St. John. She is married to poet Ned Balbo and lives in Baltimore.