top of page

la tierra se empezó a sacudir: the earth began to shake

16 apartments, 3 hours later

Look like war.

Calle Amsterdam

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 --

Bike helmets.

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,

Faces upturned,

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.

Just after,

Someone comes with rope.

bottom of page