Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Purposeful activity, you kids get back

Takin' boats up the river to sink 'em

Sky bright blue but heavy

Cotton shirts clinging from the weight

Of sweat and humid air

Worried looks, knowing nods

You kids get back

Boxes piled on tables one on another

Clothes, books, photograph albums

Higher and higher

Seeking safety

Plenty of time, nothing much to do,

follow the barometer's drop

Watch the flow of the tide

Coming in hard and high

You kids stay back

Quiet somber telephone exchanges

Is it time to leave or should we stay

A little longer, what isn't done?

You kids stay back.

The breeze, heavy with anticipation,

Darkening sky, the air still and eerie

Brown water licks the back steps

A plastic laundry basket floats

Across the yard spiraling the length of the garage

You kids get your shoes on.

You drive the truck, I'll get the car

And the kids.

Lock the cats on the porch

they'll be okay. Cats don't like water.

They'll be okay.

You kids get back.

Back seat, be quiet. Night's coming fast

And the breeze is now a steady blow

Palm trees drop their fading fronds

The water's on the road.

You kids quiet down now.

Glad greetings, thank God you're here.

Come in. It's looking pretty bad out there.

You kids go in the bedroom and pick your spot.

Coffee'’s on the stove, sandwiches wrapped

In waxed paper. Five gallon bottles of water

Line the hall, just in case.

You kids settle down now

Dark, winds shrieking and shouting down

The hum of voices in the kitchen

A rise and fall of voices, deep and manly,

Soft and womanly, strong and fearful

All we can do is wait. Wait it out.

You kids go to sleep.

Midnight dark, the power's gone

Sharp cracking sounds, the groaning

House holds its own against the storm.

The windsong a harrowing tune, pounding

And pounding rain against the boarded windows.

I cry and want to find a friendly lap

And someone's arms to hold me.

I'm afraid and alone in the dark

And the world is blowing away.

Go back to bed now. Everything's alright.

Hush now.

The storm rages through the night,

Early the eye of the hurricane passes

In it's clarity we run outside

To find the shredded trees, trunks

Broken and twisted, thrown through roofs.

Buildings gone from where they were.

You kids get back inside.

You kids find something to do.

You kids don't know

It's about to begin again from the

Leeward side of the storm.

Somehow it's better in the daytime.

What's done is done.

You kids get back

Submitted by Rachael Pankey

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