It is full dark before 2:00 PM every day.
temple bells ring in the streets for the dead
the high chimes disturb the windless
fall of ash. the planet had bellowed
now it crouches still expecting another lash.
we are back to battery power
transistor radios in jacket pockets
telling us Tacoma is a mudflat.
a tsunami had pressed north up the Sound
scouring the beach houses from Seattle and Vancouver shores.
mercy is half a bottle of water
a gritty peanut butter sandwich.
there is no way to do laundry
no gasoline within walking distance.
the rest of the country has cried their eyes out for us it seems.
now we know the smell of lava burning brick
and the school kids in Kentucky
know how to spell pyroclastic flow.
there are notes from all over on the street
parachuted in with clean kerchiefs and chocolate bars.
My name is Arief and I read about your misfortune on the internet.
The smell of the volcano is very bad here – how is it there?
I had a cousin who died in a mudslide during the monsoon two years ago.
I will pray for you every night each and every one who reads my words.
God tests us all every day. This note is to let you know you can survive.