Turning East

by Margaret Randall

Earth, that solid ball beneath our feet
spins in the vastness of space
where neither up nor down exists,
while on the orbital plane
of all we see and feel
our home on its axis tilts 23.5 degrees.

In directionless space, the tilt is only a tilt
in relationship to which
disproven theory?
Angled away from where?
Astronomers make discoveries
and poets ask questions.

This news already makes us dizzy,
then science informs us
the North Pole turned east in the year 2000.
Fifteen earth years traveling down
an alternate road. Veering
toward epiphany or emptiness?

Space has no up or down. Yet the Pole
reversed its drift from west to east,
shifted 75 degrees, a phenomenon
caused by melting ice sheets,
loss of water mass,
depletion of aquifers and drought.

What’s more, fossil records give us
a history in which both poles
have begun a reversal
that happens every millennia.
This is the earth’s interior magma
spinning us away from ourselves.

We catch fire, a civilization lured by the greed
we call progress, mirage
keeping change or solution beyond our reach.
The words fade, refocus, then fall
into place in perfect lockstep
with every savage lie.

No up, no down, no earthly cause for concern.
Yet this poet knows there is
a tipping point, a broken armature
dislodging equilibrium.
Our axis strays and the Compass Rose
falls off the picture plane.