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In the airport bar, I tell my mother not to worry.
No one ever tripped and fell into the San Andreas
Fault. But as she dabs at her dry eyes, I remember
those old movies where the earth does open.

There's always one blonde entomologist, four
deceitful explorers, and a pilot who's good-looking
but not smart enough to take off his leather jacket
in the jungle.

Still, he and Dr. Cutie Bug are the only ones
who survive the spectacular quake because
they spent their time making plans to go back
to the Mid-West and live near his parents

while the others wanted to steal the gold and ivory
then move to Los Angeles where they would rarely
call their mothers and almost never fly home
and when they did for only a few days at a time.

—Ron Koertge

from Geography of the Forehead, 2000
University of Arkansas Press, Fayetteville, Ark.

Copyright 2000 by Ron Koertge.
All rights reserved.

Reprinted by permission of University of Arkansas Press. Copyright 2000 Ron Koertge. For further permissions information, contact University of Arkansas Press, 201 Ozark Ave., Fayetteville, AR 72701.

Poetry 180

About the Poet

Ronald Koertge (1940- ) is the author of six poetry collections, including And Through the Woods (World Parade Books, 2008). Koertge grew up in rural Olney, Illinois, and received a BA from the University of Illinois and an MA from the University of Arizona.

Learn more about Ron Koertge at The Poetry Foundation.