16 apartments, 3 hours later
Look like war.
I used to run on this street
I don't remember the building,
This eight story building,
But it stood there.
Our hands are caked in dust,
We are weary of standing.
We are too late.
In business casual, jogging clothes,
Trash collectors in jumpers.
Cardboard signs of "SILENCIO"
Held by men yelling, "SILENCIO!!"
Shirt masks, plastic buckets and hard hats --
Someone brings caution tape.
Every slight movement makes me fearful.
The aftershocks, we are warned.
"Humo de gas! Apaguen tus teléfonos!"
A woman stands among us, hand to mouth,
As giant, spark-plugged lumbering machines --
Dump trucks, bobcats, cranes --
Pull at concrete walls like a child at paper mache.
We want to be helpful. Moving piles of rubble
From one side of the street to the other,
Water jugs, tree branches, toilet paper.
Migrate across the intersection
Weaving between awe-struck eyes,
As if waiting for a sign.
Four are pulled from the rubble.
Dust hangs in the air,
As the sun begins to cast shadows.
They wrap caution tape around the trees again.
Again, for the fourth time, it is pulled down
Making way for emergency vehicles.
Someone comes with rope.