Hurricanes are a Southern familiar. This poem was first presented at the SEBA trade show in September, 2004, when I read as part of the late night readings sponsored by Simon and Schuster. Admittedly, paganism and Christianity dance with me at times concurrently,largely owing to my ancestry. At any rate, the poem seems appropriate at the moment.
Our last weather update forecasts a lot of rain, wind and possible tornadic activity--we're on the East coast, so at the moment, it looks like the mother storm will miss us, dealing us only the outer bands.
Two loaves of bread shine on the shelf at Winn-Dixie.
Bread is valuable, because another hurricane
is aiming at Florida. Store aisles fill
with seekers of water and ice, and canned food
that will be eaten only if She hits us. Brown
black and white we smile with more nice
than normal. Our words shape fear into chuckles.
One man says, “I’m not going anywhere.
I die I die right here.” Our hands inspect apples
and melons. “Can’t nothin’ be bad as Andrew.”
We savor the comfort of lies. “This,” says a woman
cradling oranges, “is the price we pay for living in Paradise.”
Reassured by bread and batteries, we nestle in the arms
of our she-storm—watchful—wide-eyed
siblings taking turns at Mother’s bitter breast.