by Gayle Schiller

I am on the water, in
the middle of the ocean, after
a hurricane moves through.

There is the moment after
the deafening sound has just
passed and the death-filled
wind has moved into
the next grid section of
the map, and in that moment
there is a stunned stillness
right on the surface of the water.

It is the calm after the storm.

It is such a brief moment that
only someone who is not sure
yet if she is alive or dead,
only that person, me,
this person, here, me,
not sure,
after this calamitous mess
of elements has had its say
and left me here,
only I can tell you
this moment exists and
only I can decide if
I am alive or dead.

It is quiet now, but there is
an echoing in my ears
of the sound before,
the screeching sound of
one hundred trains coming to a stop
right around me,
and there is a stillness now,
but my nerves can still
feel every bit of the wind
that boiled over and blew
against me,
full force.

I am the only one who
can hear, feel, and see
this aftermath made of
space and nothingness,
here, as I float,
on the surface, so
only I can tell you

it happened,
and I survived it.

You will just have to believe me.