Thursday, February 20, 2014

home alone at four AM

Home Alone at Four AM

Most nights, my cat sleeps
in the crook of my knee,
a lump of warmth that snores.
Tonight she stalks across my room
leaps up onto my pillow
and bolts away.
Abandoned first by brother, mother out of state
then Papa off to Italy,
now Catling, I close my eyes again
 pull my blanket closer
(there is no insulation in my walls or ceiling
to protect me from a San Francisco summer)
and shiver.
The world shivers,
single pane windows rattle
my mind goes white with panic.
I cry out, remember the drills,
Protect your head. Duck and cover. Breathe,
curl into a ball and slide down
between bed and wall
to huddle.
Wood thunders on wood,
something--something heavier than
trinkets and books
and the plastic trophies on shelves--
 crashes down,
glass splinters.
Catling mews from the kitchen,
and for too many heartbeats the world writhes.
Then, like letting out a breath,
the ground stills.
I pull myself out from under the bed,
See my books on the ground.
The white shelf is facedown
a slab of brown wood lies across my bed
and where my ceiling used to be
is darkness and  wisps
of San Francisco fog.

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