An earthquake poem from Paul McGuigan


        She camps in the living room, waits for kind people she hardly knows to wander away to bed. She unrolls her sleeping bag, takes off her outer garments, and lies awake on the sofa hearing people finding sleep. She is listening for the first vibration that begins the aftershock.



Walls fall down



        She is at the bench, chopping vegetables for a dinner she can’t imagine eating. She cooks from habit. There is no desire, no passion, in the chip-chop, chip-chop of the knife. Has she cut her finger?


Walls fall down

Nine dead here

Her blood is shed


        He drives her to the airport. International departures. 2 minute wait, constant patrol, drop-off zone only. He fetches a trolley, loads luggage, stumbles as they hug and she disappears. He wipes his eyes as he drives away.


Walls fall down



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