This entry is part 91 of 95 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2010-11


Evening of the first day, the man who owned a truck yard
next door laid out plywood sheets on hard ground and said

Come— And all the neighbors came, bringing blankets,
sheets, canvas tarp, burlap— The very young and the trembling

old slept in vehicles, windows cracked open for air—
And the night air was notched with metallic smells but also

something almost sweet, like flowers— I did not want
to think what kind– And the following day it rained,

and then again the next, so between aftershocks we collected
water in pails and tin drums— Someone had a kerosene stove

and lit it in the shadow of the broken shed where the honeysuckle
vines were a vivid green interspersed with orange— And still

we refused to go indoors, though gradually we crept
back to those parts of our homes still standing— Porches

were good for sleeping— When the sun glimmered
through thin clouds we heard news of a few places

where we could walk to line up for bread, rice,
canned goods— And someone had busted a water pipe

near the park (just a little they said) and people went
with cans and plastic tubs for water— And the men

came back weeping, having dug out bodies from collapsed
buildings, from vehicles overtaken by landslides

on the mountain road— And strangers offered
rides, and helicopters hovered in the sky— And we heard

lamentations and questions on the lips of everyone— Faces
streaked often and easily, eyes filling with tears and blinking

not from the sunlight but from what they could barely endure—

Luisa A. Igloria
03 15 2011

In response to today’s Morning Porch entry.

Series Navigation← Landscape with Red Boots and Branch of Dead CherryWillow →


5 Replies to “After”

  1. Thanks for this vivid recollection, Luisa. The accumulation of small, telling details is very effective and affecting. “And the night air was notched with metallic smells but also//something almost sweet, like flowers—” “And strangers offered/rides, and helicopters hovered in the sky—” Lines like these make it clear how different the world becomes after a disaster.

    1. Seeing all the news and the imagery from the earthquake and tsunamis in Japan vividly brings back my own memories of the two 8.8 earthquakes we experienced in my home city, Baguio in the Philippines, on July 16, 1990…

    1. Baguio City looks like a stunning city in ordinary times — but then, Sendai was regarded at the most liveable city in Japan, the City of Trees (and not far from Matsushima). I’m interested to see that Baguio City’s nickname is City of Pines.

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