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EARTHQUAKE

The world is livin’ in its dream Gerry Rafferty, The Ark

EARTHQUAKE

Santa Monica, California, January 17, 1994.

Dark morning; my cat won’t stop pacing, around 4:30 am. Might as well get up then.

I put my foot out to arise,

a terrible rumbling like a train coming,

and I remember, no trains in Santa Monica.

Then an incredible jolt, and the swaying

holds me fast. I can’t move, kept in my bed with the back and forth swaying.

I will end up in the garden, down there, or under piles of wood and debris.

All of the church bells and car alarms chiming:

ding dong ding dong beep beep ding dong

then hiss hiss hiss I have to get out, get out of here!

Between jolts, grab my purse, my cat, my jacket.

Past the broken glass, the stove that traveled, the refrigerator, slid across the room, the broken photos in the hallway, torn from the wall, my grandmother’s face, crumbled.

Down broken stairs. The railing has been torn off. At the bottom, I find a lever, turn off the gas. It will take over a week before it can be turned on again. I leap over broken stairs, down to the quivering ground.

I move my car to an empty lot – away from tall palm trees, their peeling bark, away from the precarious loosened church cornerstone above, from stained glass, flying with aftershocks.

I lock my disgruntled cat into the car, with a box of dirt.

He won’t forgive me for a while.

Firetruck sirens just a block over; smoke over there.

Outside, in the gloom, people in pajamas and overcoats, leather jackets, sunglasses, this is LA. A man in polka dot boxer shorts, under a bomber jacket. A blonde neighbor carrying her favorite pillow, her tiny yappie dog on a rhinestone leash.

Aftershock, after-shock.

We do something funny: we walk and walk. Up streets and down blocks...

Source: shegoestowater


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