Choked awake into a morning
dusty soot filled my lungs. 
Throat burning, 
Struggled to reach 
a water glass on my bed stand. 
Instead of finding the
smooth touch of a cool, clear cup, 
I scratched my fingertips on cinder blocks 
jaggedly piled beside me. 
My eyes snap open.

The world flooded my perception. 
Crammed space and little slivers of light 
Micro-motel room walls 
collapsed in around me
and there was dust 
still falling onto my bed. 

The wall next to my bed 
crushed the bed stand; 
The wall next to my bed 
tipped precariously. 
The ceiling above me 
tilted unnaturally.

Suddenly 
screams from behind me

Pushing rubble-covered sheets off, 
I shook my jeans free of dust. 
Standing, 
I gag from crap in the air, 
then wrestle my old flannel 
to make my way to the door. 
Without thinking 
I yank the door open, 
and saw a terrible new world 
for the first time.

Published by Adam

For almost two decades, Adam F. C. Fletcher has led international outreach focused on engaging people successfully. Working with thousands of youth-serving nonprofits, K-12 schools, government agencies, international NGOs and other organizations around the world, his work spans the fields of education, public health, economic development and social services, and includes professional development, public speaking, publishing, social media and more. He founded the Freechild Institute for Youth Engagement, SoundOut and CommonAction, as well as writing more than 50 publications and 500 articles. He has also established 150-plus community empowerment projects.

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