5.8 – a poem by Alan Perry

5.8
 
We look at each other across the room--
our eyes meet, then widen, as our heads turn.
 
Your couch jiggles and my chair rattles forward
while we both mouth earthquake.
 
Ten seconds feel like minutes when we ask
each other when do you think it will end?
 
That’s the question I ask myself when times
seem the worst--wars on other continents,
 
the terminal illness of a best friend,
insanities from political demagogues.
 
Then I imagine Paul in Philippi 
imprisoned with his friend Silas
 
singing and praying to keep the faith
after stirring the crowds with words.
 
When his earthquake came, Paul’s shackles fell off
and he was freed from what held him.
 
Which reminds me that 5.8 on the Richter scale
is only a number, until you experience the power
 
of having the faith to believe that eventually 
all of this will end well.

Alan Perry authored Clerk of the Dead, published by Main Street Rag Publishing in 2020. His poems have appeared in Tahoma Literary Review, Heron Tree, Open: Journal of Arts & Letters, and elsewhere. A Best of the Net nominee, he is a Senior Poetry Editor for Typehouse Literary Magazine.

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