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Earthquake Summer

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