Emma Jones’ poem addresses the love and heroism that’s resiliently present amidst devastating circumstances. Illustration by Kate Copeland.

I saw you once at the site of an earthquake.
A woman lay in the rubble,
Her panic filling the air thick as brick dust
And strangers’ hands, arms, heaved to free her
Strangers’ brows furrowed, rolled with fresh sweat
Strangers’ lips blossomed with whispered hope
And there you were.
In the pulse of blood through thickened veins
In the drop of sweat that darkened dust,
You. There you were.
I saw you on the slave ship
In the soothing hush of mothers’ shush
The warm and murmured lullabies
I saw you in the death camps
You were the last morsel, torn in half
Proffered with knotted, knuckled hands
In these darkest of places
I have to remember:
You. You still survive
In the clutched embraces
And the tears of grief,
You sit, so quietly,

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