Earthquake in the Distance

What is the distance between grabbing bags
of rice from a moving aid truck, and lying
dead dust-covered on a stretcher later to be
dumped by a shovel truck into a big hole
with thousands, those who might have fought
together for a bottle of water, for space
in a tent near running sewage, for grains
of rice mixed with dry earth picked one
by one in a mad race to eat, rain can
leave dry fragments of separate soil,
and trees for shade and caskets were long gone,
a distance of life partly lived, long after
the romance of fresh tomatoes in spring,
red-orange soft mangoes hanging from trees –
see the dead man’s right arm up as though he
could hold the falling building away,
but it came to him and left a coat
of gentle white powder, though later in the hole
his legs and arms were quickly gone,
mixed with too many bodies, some may have
had fond memories of fruits and fish picked
in the middle of life, spiced into a meal
with candlelight. There must have been feeling,
there must have been a moment when fingers reached
and touched.

Published on Ascent Aspirations and  Flaneur

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