Etymology for Catastrophe

by Kelton Ellis

Illustration by Gabriel Matesanz

published April 14, 2017


Amid early springtime’s hesitant snowmelt

a planet rearranges into loving explosions,

confessing no objective but to glower, then to fade.


Sprained branch and sprouting bulb. 

The thunder-thrown volley of storm, engineering emergences.

Overhead a splotch-gray dome of sky threatens 

bursting inward beneath a sunray’s duress.


And the I, which asserts now. Under a sunray I’d unbridle—

from west to east, and from whisper to scream.

Unbridle forever from a string of ink,

or maybe into a string of ink,

a string of ink that thinks itself bursting beyond a margin,

seeks to outlive its own overturning, long and recursive.

At once: I reassemble, I yearn to dissemble. I disassemble.


All along a thrasher egg hatches its self-detonation,

springs off, toward newfound flight out of fragility—


tenuous, the thrasher couldn’t know finer exits.