Earthquake — Christian George

I don’t know how it all ended.
But when the ground violently convulsed,
The shimmering street lights shattered
And sprinkled glass like snow on manicured bushes;
Knocking over the potted plants decorating
The pathway to a gentile home;
Splintering the oak wood door
And forcibly entering a dinner party
That’s been on its last leg for an hour now;
With guests hovering to leave
But too pious to pour their wine down the drain
Because it was a French vintage from 1975.

An ostentatious center piece sits
To distract from the broken glass in the corner
That came from frames of family photos fallen from the falsities
That are shown from the forced smiles and chin up poses.
But the cracks in their faces are from the quake caused by a family
Barred down by expectations.
To proceed with the motions melded to their minds
Of grabbing the mail,
Greeting the neighbor with a tepid hello
Distilled with hints of contempt
About trivial trepidations—
Whether or not the paint they bought covers the lies
Coated thick on their home.

And the houses line the cul-de-sac
In a perfect harmony—with concrete parties
Filled with guests who come for appearances
And with wives wishing to be stretched in scarlet
Rather than be with their husbands—
Who hate the helicopters hovering overhead
Because they are machines watching
And waiting to take the men’s pistols and petrol
To ensure they cannot fight nor flee.
Because suffocation is the end game
In this neighborhood where families
Crack apart from living.