When the earthquake hit, it was a surprise
party. It opened us like gifts. Suddenly,
we knew things.
I can teach you how to stack the cups and saucers
in the cabinets so that they don’t fall over,
Broken china is so convincing in its misery
that I once glued the plates to the floor
and walked around them saying:
It could be worse.
I don’t ever want to be so crippled
that, when I sleep, you sit in your car
and call strangers.
Don’t ever fall.
I don’t want to seal envelopes
stuffed with articles about the country’s
top ten disasters and wait decades for a response
in the form of a sweepstakes
that promises we will be set for life.
When the earthquake hit, I instantly knew
death: the chandelier and clock swaying
in slow motion, the reaching out for your lover’s hand
as you say Let’s get out of here,
before the walls crumble around us.
Meghan Privitello is the author of A New Language for Falling out of Love (YesYes Books, 2015) and Notes on the End of the World (Black Lawrence Press, 2016), winner of The Black River Chapbook Competition. Poems have appeared in Guernica, A Public Space, Gulf Coast, Boston Review, Best New Poets, Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poets for the Next Generation, & elsewhere. She is the recipient of a NJ State Council of the Arts Fellowship in Poetry.
Donna Vorreyer is the author of Every Love Story is an Apocalypse Story (Sundress Publications, 2016) and A House of Many Windows (Sundress Publications, 2013), as well as seven chapbooks, most recently Encantado, a collaboration with artist Matt Kish from Redbird Chapbooks. She works as a middle school teacher in the Chicago suburbs.
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