The Universe is worked and guided from within outwards.                                      

                        ~ Helena Petrovna Blavatsky


Cats arch their backs, flee their perches. Starlings

murmur the secret, abandon a shake of branches.


                        A throaty groan underfoot. Then, one sharp

                        minute of seismic spasm, of strike-slip fault.


            Where soil sat on hillsides, now slippage.

            Subsidence retires doors in rubble — nothing


to slam against debris, against churning frustration.

Nothing smooth, no thing where it was. The unhoused


                        rise from Golden Gate to a perplexity

                        of pebbles, to stonework spalled by fire.


            A confusion of souls pinched for residence,

            jockeying for space. Wraiths leak into crevices —


displaced spirits now schooled in hide and seek.

Bewildered dogs nose limbs for masters missing


                        or dead: Are you a fetch? Got a bone?

                        Then: gulls reclaim their begging ground.


            Shaken settlers settle again. Those who believed

            in concrete brush ash from their shoulders,


locate new angles for wake and sleep. They shuffle

old notions like whist, conjure new convictions  


                        steeped in flesh, in wisp.


Mikki AronoffMikki Aronoff’s work appears or is forthcoming in New World Writing, The Phare, MacQueen’s Quinterly, Tiny Molecules, The Disappointed Housewife, Bending Genres, Milk Candy Review, Gone Lawn, and elsewhere. She has received Pushcart and Best Microfiction nominations.