Quake by Peter Stroup

My Universe aches with trembles that seethe from my fingertips.

Betrayal is on the tip of my tongue,

And I just lost my train of thought from the muscle to the bones.

My fingers and eyelids all waiting, all chattering, plotting.

My teeth feel swollen and cramped in my mouth,

Like pieces of me are trying to escape.

My eyes roll back,

My bones collapse,

I am a heap of tectonic plates.

And it is here, I would argue, the story begins with a small shift

In time and space.

                And freeze. Wake. Wait.

                Wake up to a floating feeling.

                I am somewhere else completely,

                I am somewhere so quiet I wonder if my eardrums had burst

                Before I awoke.

                Still wandering,

                Searching would imply I was aware I was

                Looking for something.

                I am quickly walking toward or away from nothing.

                Endless, vast peace.

                More quiet than a space scream.

                I am so assertively disparate that I cannot speak.

                I’ve forgotten how-or never knew.

                The details are all so fuzzy.

                The meaning of words is gone,

                This palace of my inner workings have no way of

                Being translated.

                I just stand with my mouth open.

                Opening my eyes as wide as I can open them

                Before the light begins to hurt.

                This feels like it goes on for years, I am grey

                Experiencing things, visions, lifetimes

                That I will never remember after.

              And then I return from this collapsing body after what seemed like eons gone by.

My body has continued to quake without me,

No permission ever granted or dues paid.

I’ve gone elsewhere, not somewhere outside myself.

Somewhere trapped and alone within.


Speechless but not soundless, not a bit.

My words don’t articulate, I speak only in vowels.

I can’t feel or taste the blood,

Only see the red wetness as my teeth pull one final rebellion

To overthrow my tongue.

Silenced forever but somehow all of me has survived.

My eyes open like a newborn,

Blinking and gasping for air.

A smoldering heap of flesh and bones,

Feeling like I have lost, like I am lost,

Like I am a loss.

My world collided with some comet that flooded

The whites of my eyes with saltwater.

My synapses all fired at once and threw me into oblivion,

I am a self-contained big bang.

After this is over I will look almost identical

But the person who stood in this body before is gone.

I feel as if I’ve fallen after 30 rounds of sparring.

Collapsed from not one punch, but a hundred years of torture.

The quake is over, the violence settles,

I recommit myself to humanity,

Because no one would believe where I’d


Pete Stroup is a Columus native, and an Ohio University alum. He has been a contributing author to the literary magazine Filigree and has published his first book of poetry Sex And Destruction with Periodisa Publications. Since then he has been developing his own brand of podcasts: First Day Podcast is a story telling podcast that he narrates, accompanied by music from local musician Scott Wedell. Get It Together is a horror-themed advice show he hosts along with musician David Huff. He is working on self-publishing his second book of poetry Quake in the near future.