Summer 2019 was the season of California quakes.
The couch rolled underneath me
and dishes fluttered in their cases. My heart
pounded as if the floor of our double-wide
was opening up beneath me.
We were 300 miles away from the epicenter
of the biggest perturbance
I had felt it my life and I was shook.
It is seven months later and
every time there is a fire drill on campus
my heart pounds as if I am about to give a speech,
or as if a professor is staring over my shoulder,
inscrutable, hard and sure. I am
hot and sweaty in the middle of winter,
my face red with the exertion of holding
my hands at my sides like limp and wilted
flowers felled by spring, like:
this is too much rain, too much earth,
too much cosmic energy flowing through this one body.
Sometimes half-awake at night I feel
as though I am falling through the second floor
and deep into the earth, buried alive, or worse,
joining the unknown forever darkness of the dead.
I jolt awake, pressing a hand to the walls
to feel if they, too, are shaking.
Sometimes at night I would swear that my bed
is swaying like it was that week,
that summer, pulsing with the weight of cracking foundations.
When I realize it is only my heart pushing
blood in endless circles, I am not relieved.
There is too much cosmic energy rushing through
this one body.
--Tiffany M., Adult