Rumbling Pompeii

When I was younger,
we’d run giggling
through streets.
Whoever could stand
longest through a shake
could brag all day,
and we would idolize her.

The shaking
would come at the sound
of that strange
We knew it was coming.
Sometimes we were frozen,
ears turned
Never once had it crossed
our minds, the danger
we were in.
It was child’s play.

But, now, on the fifth day of February,
it is different. Buildings splinter
like dried twigs in the bitter,
winter days.

I stare out my window
at the scene of
my home, my life,
collapsing to the core.
The local wild dog
howls to the heavens
as his precious earth
breaks beneath him.
The ground cracks
like bones under pressure.

My father would
give his entire
olive harvest to make
the shaking stop.
His face cracks with
the same fear
that has swarmed our city,
like a plague.

Perhaps the sacrifice
to Jupiter and the other gods
was too dry.
We gave everything to please;
but today
souls depart Pompeii.
They’re ripped from this world
as the earth squirms.

Tears drip down shocked
familiar faces
of the neighborhood.
Loose kids bawl and crawl,
their parents dead under the debris.

Sarah deVeer
1st place 9th &10th grades
LA Writes! 2010
Lusher Charter High School
New Orleans, LA

Used with permission of LA Writes!

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