Issue 6,  Poetry

Inland by Lucía Orellana Damacela

Facing inland like most of the moai of Easter Island.
Perhaps the Rapa Nui people thought that nothing could arrive 
from the sea, although that is how they arrived. 
Taking in the sun. Aversion to non-walkable surfaces.
Markers on a fence invisible to visitors.

Their shell and coral eyes dislodged like seeds 
from watermelons when they were still allowed to have seeds, 
which could have not grown in this now eroded land.
Vestiges of their former forest turgidity and self-sustenance 
dried out; its native palm trees extinct.

I have not been to Easter Island,
but imagine it an isolated place. Its satellite images 
show more than two hundred hotels and inns 
in the populated areas.
Things that tourist pictures don’t capture.

Like when I visited the Pyramids of Giza.
Impressive as they are, I made efforts 
to find the right angles to frame out 
crowds and non-photogenic piles
to preserve a postcard illusion in my pictures.

I walk other shores, bag in hand, to clean up their rubble;
try to leave them as pristine as the shores of my memories.
Plastic. Aluminum cans. Glass. Deformed and wrecked.
Waves carried them from remote places;
messages of destruction in broken bottles.

The past makes its way in fragments time-warped by waves.
Like a real estate sign lost during Hurricane Sandy,
retrieved in Bordeaux in 2018;
or debris from the 2011 Japan tsunami 
washed up in Oregon a year later.

I grew up picking up shells and corals, eyes still unglassed.
Facing the waters at sunrise and at sunset. 
Rhythm. Fearless breezes. Protractedly blind of the future.
I didn’t know yet that worlds collapse,
cultures fade, and the eyes of history fall off.

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Lucía Orellana Damacela is the author of Sea of Rocks (Unsolicited Press, 2018), and the chapbooks Longevity River (Plan B Press, 2019) and Life Lines (The Talabot-Heindl Experience, 2018). Her work has been published in English and Spanish in venues such as Tin House Online, Sharkpack Annual, and Always Crashing. Lucia is currently pursuing an MFA degree in Creative Writing at City College of New York, tweets at @lucyda and blogs at notesfromlucia.wordpress.com.

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