Aftermath

by Kenzie Saunders

The ground stops shaking
and the crashing stops,
leaving the world in deafening silence.
Navigating the strewn bits of wood
and crumbled stone remains, weak
daylight can be seen
against the new horizon.

Jagged bones spike the landscape—
fallen brick brownstones, and
indestructible skyscrapers—
littering the ground with grey shadows.
Sounds have fled with the memory of
security, and shaky legs move forward
in fear of creating noise.

The dust has not settled, and the sky is
ocher through the fog of the
past. The smooth arch of the sun
is barely visible amid the rubble.
With the addition of light,
eyes scan for movement:

evidence of companions.
Only ghosts of life remain,
a fallen Coke billboard,
and the twisted letters of a
Victoria’s Secret sign, but they
become welcome.
A glittering shine is visible from
the vantage. Ripples are made out,
and with jerky movements forward,
the bay is recognized. Red steel
pokes and curls out of the water,
wrapped in thick, fraying cables.

The air is clearer here, and standing
at the edge of the water,
staring out across the bay over the
mess of the fallen bridge,
an insidious calm snakes around
the atmosphere. Each breath is easier,
until terror and doubt recede
in the still aftermath.