or Mutatis Mutandis

The mode of most catastrophe
is gradually, then suddenly.
Time slowly ratchets up the stress
in states that tend to stay at rest
until some last-straw catalyst,
the tumblers’ incremental twist
allows locked plates at last to shift;
the temblored continental drift
frees the long pent-up potential
to manifest its exponential
lust for sudden sweeping change,
the sunken city, the upthrust range.
All is fine, then, before you know it
the status quo’s gone Krakatoa.
God and Darwin both agree
that change, though all inconstancy,
is the world’s one certainty,
for what is being but becoming
something else, else it become nothing?


David Essex has a B.A and an M.A from William and Mary, and an M.F.A. from Iowa Writer’s Workshop.  He has tended bar, tied re-bar, professed English and written for television.  Currently he is Curatorial Assistant for Renaissance Paintings at the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC. His poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Verse, Jacaranda Review and other literary journals.

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