|PHOTO: People sort through the remains of a dwelling in the Sherpa village of Solu Khumbu, between Kathmandu and Everest base camp in Nepal, on April 30, 2015, after the April 25 earthquake. (Tenzin Khando Sherpa)|
What is essential to conserve and what
can be—what should be—left out? Consider
this question while standing outside your door
in a hallway or front yard with a sack
open in your hands. Imagine you have
just five seconds or three minutes before
the next bomb or aftershock hits you—and
that’s when you realize you might have nothing
but food in your sack, if you have food at
home, because your mind stops. My mind can not
hold to the image of home crushed naked—
its timbers askew and its roof aground
maybe with a mark of red blood above
where the entrance used to be.
I force myself to fill a get-away-
fast bag to leave under the porch or in
my trunk. I remember reading some lists
in telephone books when I lived on fault
lines in California—but I cannot
remember now. Clean water, I am sure,
maybe a change of underwear, a can
of tuna fish and bag of cat food.
Maybe a cat or child if I have one—
a framed picture if they have moved away,
gotten away before the tragedy.
More than likely I’ll be running in tears
naked along rumble pathways in hope
someone needs help so I will snap awake.
I remember how when babysitting
I had no fear because I was in charge
and thinking of others, not just myself.
That’s key, I think, as I hold open my
big sack and start filling it with water
and medical supplies, extra blankets
and jackets. I amass more than will fit
in bags, car trunk and crawl spaces and go
to buy batteries, radios, and bags—
plastic multi-use bags. I call neighbors
to leave my phone number in case needed,
and tell them where I stashed supplies in case
and ask for their cell phone numbers as well.They don't respond as if I’m too crazy.
Posted with Poets United
Copyright © 2015 S.L.Chast