“Moment of Inertia” by Debra Spencer
Moment of Inertia
It’s what makes the pancake hold still
while you slip the spatula under it
so fast it doesn’t move, my father said
standing by the stove.
All motion stopped when he died.
With his last breath the earth
lurched to a halt and hung still on its axis,
the atoms in the air
coming to rest within their molecules,
and in that moment
something slid beneath me
so fast I couldn’t move.