Ten years ago today, at 12.51 pm, a massive earthquake struck the Canterbury region of New Zealand. It was centred only 6.7 kilometres from the centre of the city of Christchurch, which suffered severe damage. 185 people died. Countless more were left homeless, terrified, psychologically scarred. They were now the reluctant custodians of a ruined city.
Today we remember.
The Christchurch Fortune Teller
It was crumbling, she said.
Crumbling around me as I
stone to stone,
Before to After,
my feet burning.
I thought I would die, she said
as she sat in my swinging chair
Underneath us the ground was solid and still.
On the table between us she had spread
the newspaper from the day before It Happened.
The teapot steamed on grainy memories
of used-to-be lives.
What was crumbling? I asked.
Her lips gripped the lip of the cup as she swayed forward, swooped back.
Future me, she said.
Tiny leaves escaped from their woven, temporary shelter
sank and settled
like liquefied silt, telling the fortunes of all of us.