The Earthquake of 6 Feb 2023 by Susie Gharib

We were safely sleeping in our rooms
when my brother was awakened by the foul breath 
of a storm
that violently rattled his window
and ominously groaned.

As he was checking on inmates and locks,
alarmed by the raging sea 
that not very distantly foamed,
the floor shook beneath his feet
and the walls began to move to and fro.

I heard him call my name
in a loud but shaky tone.
I left my bed and barefooted opened my bolted door—
a habit I contracted when I was a student abroad—
and there he stood swaying,
with no gravity emanating from the floor.
I tottered towards him,
my dog oscillating like a frantic pendulum.

We invoked the mercy of our ever-vigilant Lord,
with voices that were louder than the creaking walls
and the heavy things that were falling in our apartment
and below.

I cannot tell how long it took for the shaking to halt. 
It seemed like eternity to my agitated soul.
Death was within inches
and now I can recognize its mien
and its call.

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