Kimberly Kralowec

An Oral History of the Last Earthquake in the San Joaquin

The valley formed from crustal plates
retreating. Then roads came, gridding the acres
into farmland, centuries of fruited, stinging
scrapes. One day, the hills flattened—
a forced relocation of cattle, asphalt and oak.
Then a clear sightline opened to the coast,
and the unburnable Pacific almost stilled.

Anything called red is too dark to write on
but this was the color of the sky that year,
when days no longer fully ended
and every switched-on lamp swelled up
with dark. The planes flew on, chalking
their ghostly marks, the pilots thinking
when we weigh nothing, we cannot fall.

Kimberly Kralowec is an attorney and poet whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in Birdland Journal, Star 82 Review, West Trestle Review and Poetry Midwest. She writes a poetry blog,, and lives in San Francisco with her husband and three cats. She holds an English degree from Pomona College and a law degree from the University of California, Davis.

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