A splinter of golden sunlight seeps through the
Still-settling haze. I can see it through a crack in the rubble
Where pieces of building are precariously stacked
Like the toy blocks of a child. I can feel a sooty powder
On my face. I try to rub it away from around my eyes but
Am unable to do so- my arms are pinned to my sides
By those very same blocks.
Realization comes to me as shock recedes- I slowly recall
The thunderous crash and rainstorm of burning fuel.
I remember, too, trying to get out like so many others; then
The earth shook and the sky trembled and I was thrown
Into another world. I now awaken in that other world
And am scared. It is a very dark and heavy world.
The acrid smoke of smoldering plastic burns my eyes and nose.
The smell nauseates me. My body aches everywhere,
But I cannot tell if any bones are broken.
I am blanketed by splintered bricks and twisted girders.
Shattered glass stabs me in a thousand places. I
Hope I’m not bleeding to death. Panic rises in me, but is soon
Replaced by a more basic instinct- the will to survive.
I start to shout hoping someone will hear me,
But all that comes out is a dry throated squeak.
I try again and again, but succeed only in exhausting
Myself. Despair creeps in and I begin to wonder if
This mangled pile of steel will be my grave.
The sliver of golden sunlight darkens, then brightens again.
From what must be miles away I hear the muffled cries of
“Here! Over here!” Soon there is a tapping of a metal rod
sounding against the stone. Another voice speaks, but is
more muffled than the first. The window of light that told me
I was still alive goes black. I strain my eyes to see what
Makes it so and I see another eye looking in.
The eye blinks, then disappears.
I hear the excited murmur of many voices. Sounds of
Movement can be heard from above. Metal creaks and
Blocks groan as debris is peeled away. The window of
Sunlight grows until I am able to see the whole sky.
The sky, though, is not like I remember.
Earlier this morning it was clear and blue, now it is
Filled with a black smoke and a powdery haze.
Someone speaks softly saying “Easy now. Easy.”
Strong hands raise me gently and put me on a stretcher.
Words of comfort fall on me like a soothing summer rain.
I say something as I am hurried to a waiting ambulance,
But I fear that in all of the noise and confusion, no one has
Heard my hoarsely whispered “Thank you”.
Copyright © Bruce Schuhart