Earthquake Preparedness by Carol Ayer

Earthquake Preparedness

The irony is this:
I’ve been searching my whole life
for something stable to rely on,
while the entire time
I’ve been residing squarely on a fault.

In childhood, the family foundation
was never reinforced for strength;
when the temblor finally came
I sought refuge in a doorway,
shielding myself
from splinters of blame
and shards of disappointment.

Later, my relationships
were built on landfill;
ready to slip into a sinkhole
with the slightest shifting of earth.

My own psyche,
massive cracks down its sides,
bears witness to a survival
through quivers of regrets
and quakes of self-loathing.

I stand at the epicenter
of the disaster of my life–
all that’s left to do is
duck, cover, and hold.

Carol Ayer’s Questions:

Does the metaphor wear thin?

Should I delve deeper into one or two of the examples?

Reply directly to the poet:  seaaircarol (at) netscape (dot) net


  1. CE  •  Mar 21, 2010 @12:17 pm

    The metaphor works; I find it thin not because of its extension, but because the examples are too easily generic: “splinters of blame” and “quivers of regret.” I want crushed drywall and falling bookshelves, a sinkhole like the maw of a monster, you get the idea. As for question number two, I do think you spend enough time on each subcategory.

  2. Carol Ayer  •  Mar 21, 2010 @3:35 pm

    Thanks, C.E.

    Yes, I definitely see what you mean.

  3. Cyndi  •  Mar 28, 2010 @2:03 pm

    Hi Carol, I agree that the metaphor is a good one, and you could probably take it further. Pick a few specific examples of what you have had to seek refuge from and add them in; then: describe the fault-what is it made of? Describe the survival-how is this quake personal to you?
    I like: the cracks down the sides of your psyche; the need for reinforcing the family foundation

  4. Carol Ayer  •  Apr 10, 2010 @8:11 am

    Thanks, Cyndi!

  5. Les  •  Oct 12, 2012 @8:13 am

    Hi Carol

    I’ve come very late to this poem and you may well have developed it since it was first written.

    I’m with Cyndi. It’s a great idea for a poem and I think you’ve done a good job as far as you’ve gone with it. I’d really like to see the metaphor deepened, made more definite. You’ve some really rich material here, take it out for a run, put it through its paces!

    I’m aware that I’m here in the UK, looking at a piece written in America and some of the language doesn’t always make it across the pond so I’m deliberately not commenting on that. Two nations divided by a common language!

    Great work, Carol; I’d love to see some more.
    In friendship, Les.

  6. Sara  •  Jan 19, 2013 @10:54 am


    This is very good, disciplined writing, but I’m also with others in that you’ve only gone so far as the easy reach. Go into the tremor of the quake and make us tremble. The line: of the disaster of my life … read that a few times. It’s too much for my tongue and I’d just cut it to: a disaster. But that’s me and you are you and I hope you refine this piece to your satisfaction.



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