Late evening, metals bolstering our
houses finish acting like anything
but themselves. Bauxite, copper, rods

we bored into under aegis of trees:
forgetting injected fluid, cracks in
unwitting steel. Years later, a landmine

excavates us—crack-seal veins
bubbling up, flaring out—formations
pressurized from inside. Silica lingers

in brushed air. Silos empty to wind,
grainy clouds we hardly see. Is breath
our only hopeful model? Is exhaling

our exit strategy? Sand has lied to us.
Irritants take our guts over. We weep
frost. Our children scoop sky.

We recite our wedding, their births,
this fire. Soon we’re snowed under:
silt umbrella shields us from visible rain.

Our play circles, losing rhythm.
One child rings rosies, shakes her shovel
in chemicals too cautious for palms. All

the world’s time and money. Every
gold coin tail-flipped. Nothing to save.

Copyright © 2019 Rebecca Givens Rolland. This poem originally appeared in Poetry Northwest, Winter & Spring 2019. Used with permission of the author.