Floor is Lava

“...things shouldn’t be so hard.”

– Kay Ryan


As happens.  The toes grow warm, then hot.

We climb to the cushion’s safety, watching the earth

grow impermanent beneath us - as it always was,

but only gradually do we notice what had been,

all along - how like lobsters, in a slow-boiling pot,

we can be - as the rhythmic breathing - in, out,

then again in – of life’s daily custom is, for this

moment, suspended,


on cargo cult islands of repurposed furniture

bearing plush treasures: decorative pillows, throw rugs,

lace cushions – foam or polyester-bulwarked dikes of

pastel fabric, as if the ocean couldn’t, at any moment,

rise and swallow it all.  But for now, we sit.

Stranded on this loveseat island, as tectonic plates

of carpet crash silently together, upholstered seamounts

steaming, from the living room’s now pelagic floor.


Already inhabited, as all new lands, by the tiny;

the overlooked, the crawling hum and buzz of countless

black specks, the sexless creatures who first find

their way to these still newborn places:

uncharted archipelagos of hope or fantasia,

spiders who sail the world sky on threads of silk

from their own small bodies sown, and buoyed aloft

by static fields - so ludicrous, it must be true –


fish that fly or birds that don’t, who grow larger

or smaller, with poison thumbs and a duck’s break,

or the penitent lizards who give virgin birth: a miracle upon

a miracle, as if astonishment a virus caught by life.

They are unfettered by concern what others might think -

it takes faith, or the foolishness we take it for, to fly

beyond land’s easy sight.  They crawl across the earth’s

new skin - unwilling yet to settle on any land that doesn’t

move when they embrace it.

Originally hailing from the backwaters of San Jose, CA, Donald Raymond now lives in the tiny, cow-haunted hamlet of Alturas, CA, where he works as an accountant, because his guidance counselors never warned him that sort of thing could happen. He spends his free time studying Egyptology, cooking, and arguing with his cat.


You can read more of his work at Angel City Review, Arsenic Lobster, and Eye to the Telescope.