The Aftermath – When Every Question Goes Unanswered

Stumbling through the broken glass

What they call the “aftermath”

Ears ringing, pulse screaming

My eyes deceive; perhaps I’m dreaming

Electricity leaping from broken wires

All around the smoke and fires

Chaotic sounds and blaring horns

Every moment; another storm

Aftershocks and rumbling ground

Crying babies and barking hounds

Footsteps running in all directions

Aimlessly lost and full of questions

Earthquake, bomb, or alien invasion

Population center now a basin

Scorched earth and melted rock

Craters the size of city blocks

Water mains spray in the air

Nothing left of the busy square

Shops and stores just vaporized

Not a building was immunized

Dead bodies in pools of maroon

Nearly dark but it’s only noon

Noxious clouds and acrid smoke

Must escape or we’ll surely choke

When I say we, it’s only me

I hear the screams but cannot see

The damage done but nary a looter

But no responders or army troopers

No helicopters above the scene

Nor the sounds of any machines

Cell phone service isn’t working

Towers down and units burning

Mounds of rubble and twisted metal

Perhaps a visit from the Devil

This scene appears as Hell on Earth

No more value, no more worth

Start to move without direction

Searching for a human connection

Staying low but with little sight

Seeking safety or some kind of light

Higher ground and a place to see

Nursing burns of third degree

Cautious steps on unsteady ground

All alone but a weird surround

The Reaper spreading his boney arms

Gathering all those lifeless forms

Climbing up for second sight

Smoke-free air and natural light

Bodies moving but lifelessly

The walking dead or soon to be

Everyone damaged, even me

Scanning near and searching far

Roadways filled with burning cars

Stream beds with no water flowing

Piles of metal, red-hot and glowing

An angry wind is all that’s moving

White-hot fires are all-consuming

I’m alone atop a pile of suffering

My only thoughts; blind and wandering

Despair sets in, for help isn’t coming

Odds of survival have dropped to nothing

I’ll likely die with unanswered questions

Out of ideas, any suggestions….


Understanding the Aftermath – A Writer’s Perspective

“The Aftermath” is a Dystopian Poem, set in an unidentified place with multiple key elements of understanding, purposely left out of the story-line.  One individual, uncertain of what just occurred and without the benefit of a backstory, is at ground-zero, trying to make sense of the aftermath; what just happened to their world.  Everything and everyone is either gone, dead, or destroyed without explanation.  Smoke, fire, noise, and a general feeling of despair create a ghastly environment where all roads lead to extinction.

If you like Dystopian Poetry, here is a link to more work by this writer.

R.J. Schwartz’s complete list of poetry on this site can be found here.

R J Schwartz
Latest posts by R J Schwartz (see all)

R J Schwartz

I write about everything and sometimes nothing at all. I'm fascinated by old things, rusty things, abandoned places, or anywhere that a secret might be unearthed. I'm passionate about history and many of my pieces are anchored in one concept of time or another. I've always been a writer, dating back to my youth, but the last decade has been a time of growth for me. I'm continually pushing the limitations of vocabulary, syntax, and descriptive phrasing.

3 thoughts on “The Aftermath – When Every Question Goes Unanswered

  • May 20, 2019 at 5:28 PM

    This is a wonderful work, Ralph. You expertly describe the devastating scene in your poetic words. Love it!

  • May 20, 2019 at 7:39 PM

    Great piece, Ralph. It flows smooth and quick, making it easy to read with a nice rhythym. Scary to think this kind of devastation could really happen.

  • May 25, 2019 at 5:43 PM

    I like the idea of Dystopian poetry. I am a fan of Dystopian SciFi and enjoyed reading your poem. Jamie


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