Emily Jungmin Yoon, On the Day of the Gyeongju Earthquake, September 12, 2016

All I want to think about is love and gratitude,
on the escalator in Busan Station, having put you on the train
back to Seoul, avoiding the eyes of the doomsayer on the staircase
next to my descending steps, as he screams death upon those
who don’t accept God. The end is coming, so come to church.
Or the earth will split open to swallow you and you won’t
be saved. He spits a different miracle on each face. God slits
the sea down the woman behind me. Flame bursts into the world
and water fills it, then overflows. It is not that I don’t fear water
and fire. It is not that I don’t believe in God. We already kill
and die with water and fire. An ocean away the police will shoot
Terence Crutcher then Keith Lamont Scott and it will not be the end
and here Baek Nam-gi will die from a water cannon and none of this
was for not believing in the right power, which is God.
The doomsayer says we must surrender and he is sure of this.
Across the station, windows of love motels light up then dim
as lovers enter the room, empty for, empty into each other.
The end of summer is coming. I have now walked far away
from the man. It is not that I don’t believe in God. For once all I want is
to think about love and gratitude, thank God for all our lives.
When the earth begins to tremble, I look back to the station
already emptied of your train. No one will die from this,
not today, not today, but people embrace, touch each other by the wrist
by instinct. The man stands alone, like me, his arms lifted,
perhaps in surrender, perhaps in gratitude.