“When was the last?” My mind’s a jumble;
Then we hear one coming, a deep low rumble.
Eyes widen, we jump to our feet;
We feel our hearts skip a beat.
The house rattles to its very bones,
The walls complain with creaks and groans;
We’ll guess its force: “Tween 2 and 5?”
The earth is restless, the ground’s alive.
We look around, survey the place
Is anything out of place?
My wife thinks we feel it most,
“The epicenter’s so darn close.”
“We’re lucky,” I’ll say, “compared to some,
Foundations ruined, houses done.”
“Some have suffered untold grief,
I hope they applied for disaster relief.”
We were around in ’64,
It came and went with a mighty roar.
Bigger? Yes, and longer too;
But aftershocks? They were few.
Deeper down, farther away,
It didn’t haunt us day by day;
At our door Mr. Seismic knocks,
With a new display of aftershocks.
We draw a breath and brace ourselves,
As nick knacks dance upon the shelves.
Afterward, in an interlude,
When we try to guess the magnitude.
“3.2!” My wife will posit,
She’s getting really good at it.
Frank E. Baker
Jan. 1, 2019