After the dust begins to settle
there are moments of random silence.
In these quiet moments, I sit amongst the rubble
and begin the painstaking task.
I begin to sift through the ashes, through the pieces ripped and torn,
through the rough and jagged edges.
I touch every scarred surface with cautious hands
I feel every new texture that has redefined its being.
Everything came so hard and so fast
a complete collapse of the entire structure.
A devastating collapse of the stability and the safe haven
of all that existed within these sacred walls.
Now sitting here on the ground, laying broken things out before me
I can begin to see the way that these shattered pieces once fit.
I can see where the shapes and patterns existed
and how they were woven together to create something whole.
When they are laid out like this, these shattered pieces
each begin to tell their own tale.
As they become separate beings unto themselves
their stories become more than the sum of their parts.
Everything becomes visible, everything becomes clear
and everything overlooked suddenly demands attention.
Everything that was collected and put away for later
has finally been given it due.
The discoveries are hard and ugly and as the dust and dirt
are slowly swept away to reveal the secrets below.
The realizations of what lies beneath
strike with the fury of the initial shock.
Things seem so clear now as the pieces are put back together
as the broken thread is weaved back into the fabric of this thing.
I see all of things that I let slip by, all of the things that I ignored
as I simply grasped at trying to survive.
Here I see the repercussions of those actions
of trying to let the moment preserve my existence.
The warnings, the threats, the answers were there and I had them
I simply could not see them in the face of the impending doom.
The answers, the choices, decisions I didn’t make
are loud and brightly colored in this safe and quiet place.
I see it all so clearly now and can recite it verbatim
like the words of a song that I have known for all of time.
I sing it slowly and softly like a lullaby or a hymn.
I sing it in memory of the fallen
of the characters who fill the pages of this tale.
I hold it close to my heart and in my memory
I remember all of the reasons.
I carve them into myself as reminders
so this will never happen again.