Staying on top of current events with South Carolina Poet Laureate Marjory Wentworth 

Tremors and Treading

North Charleston Woman Accused of Attack with Ceramic Squirrel

It's the smirk on her face that gets me. One side of her mouth turned
up the way a child would look after being caught in a lie.

She must have been hungover to begin with. Christmas morning
at the police station; bail set at $10,000, her shirt still covered

in her boyfriend's blood. He was stabbed in the shoulder and chest,
according to the police report. After walking to the store to buy beer,

he returned empty-handed. It was Christmas Eve, after all,
and the shops closed up early. This one night of the year

we come together to celebrate whatever hope we have.
Not her, not this night. The rage that made her

grab the ceramic squirrel and hit him on the head and stab him
twice with the sharp tail, had nothing to do with beer

or this hapless man. This story might be funny,
if it wasn't her life we were talking about.

Washington Square, Charleston Tent City after The Earthquake 1886

I no longer count the days
nor the long scorched nights passing
like lifetimes. As soon as sleep
finds me, I am running alone
through the dark, while walls crumble
and the earth rumbling low
like a wounded animal,
rises and pitches beneath me.

If not for the chimney bricks
falling fast from the sky
I would swear I was at sea,
like a small boat in a storm.
And this is how I feel
when I wake in the damp tent;
my husband snoring beside me,
the child inside my belly
flipping like a confused fish.

I light a candle and walk
outside. The moon hanging low
brightens the September sky,
and I almost believe what they say
about the world not ending.
I count the stars as if they are
my blessings, tip-toe back inside,
and touch the things we salvaged
stacked on a table: my brush
and comb, one silver candlestick,
the family Bible missing
its heavy brown cover.

Man Found Disoriented on Drum Island Swam There After Getting Drunk, Police Say

At first he looked like a dark bird
flitting at the edge of sight.
The movement was distracting
and mildly confusing.
A jogger on the bridge stopped
and pointed downward. And then
another. All of them squinting,
until they were sure. Someone
was stumbling on the sand
below. At 8:10 a.m.,
authorities received the call.
The Coast Guard and the Fire Boat
responded; passing commuters
assumed someone had jumped,
but the man denied it.
He remembers drinking
after work at Art's Bar,
at some point he dove in
the water and swam across
the harbor. He remembers
swimming for a really long time.
On Drum Island he called out
for a blanket or a coat
because he was freezing;
but he had no idea where
he was or how got there.


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