It took many long hours for the hurricane to make its trek over us. I’m thankful to say that we made it out unscathed (though we were without power for a while). Things are finally starting to return to normal, though it will still be a while for some. As the hours dragged, I wondered how I would capture this experience. As a writer, all that came to mind are words. So here are some snippets of what it was like in the heart of a hurricane.
Hysteria reverberates through the air.
Shelves and gas pumps empty, fueling fear.
People grow desperate as the eye draws near.
My gas tank and pantry are full.
Should I be more worried?
Covered in a mix of sawdust and mud,
we bolt plywood to the windows
and hope for the best. Tapcons screech,
forcing themselves deep into strong concrete.
Even the baby inside me is restless.
The cat cowers under the bed.
Cold rain pours as we work.
The storm isn’t even here yet.
I reach for the safety of the lantern.
The light brings some comfort as wind
rattles boards and rain pummels exposed windows.
We listen to each gust, breathless. I search
for the cat beneath the table. I want to know
where he is, just in case. I remind
all of us that it’s going to be okay.
Another gust. How fast was that one?
How many more hours before it passes?
Light finally breaks through the speeding clouds
and we venture outside. The world is surreal.
Leaves blown from bent plants, branches everywhere,
dark spots where shingles should have been,
a lost piece of gutter laying on the sidewalk.
A mangled tree whispers destruction, others lay
where the wind left them. But we are all safe,
and that is what really matters.
Restless eyes glance at the sky
Scanning glowing clouds for the sun
And faithfully approaching moon.
Restlessly watch the clock;
Four hours and 100 miles to go.
Restless to finally stop and watch.
The faithful wait in a quiet park,
cameras and glasses at the ready.
Clouds continue to gather but we hope
that patch of blue sky overhead
will rest over us when the eclipse comes.
Billows of clouds rise between us
Thunder sends its warning
But we wait. 30 more minutes.
Maybe it will clear?
5 minutes to totality.
The clouds grow denser.
I cling to my umbrella.
My dreams are about to
4 minutes to totality.
The sun tries to peek
through the thunderhead
but all I see is a glow
in the darkening sky.
3 minutes to totality.
I’m going to enjoy this.
Live with no regrets,
chase the eclipses,
even if it rains.
2 minutes to totality.
The darkness is not
from the clouds.
Crickets begin their song.
They know what’s to come.
1 minute to totality.
The sun is hidden but
even the clouds can’t hide
what’s happening above.
The world turns to twilight
Then darker. And darker.
Lost in the shadow,
everything falls quiet.
It takes my breath away.
Just before our cloudy totality of the 2017 eclipse.
Making lasagna reminds me of you.
Layers of pasta, cheese, sauce, memories
of filling my husband’s lunchbox with slices,
the biggest piece always promised to you.
You never told my grandmother, just hid the sandwich,
banana, chips in your desk for another day.
I reveled in our little secret and your thanks.
Now I arrange each layer and remember
and am thankful that goodbyes aren’t really the end.
Stranded on the beach,
the jellyfish bakes in the sun,
washed up at high tide
with no way to return.
As a side note, the most unusual thing about this jellyfish (and the dozen others that washed up along with it) is that there were no tentacles. I came to the conclusion after looking at it from a safe distance and then poking it with a shell.
The conclusion was confirmed, though, when a little girl (who clearly had no jellyfish experience) grabbed it with her bare hands like it was a shell and carried it over to her parents. They were too far away for me to see if she kept it in her bucket or not, but I honestly wouldn’t be surprised either way.
The sun leans down
to kiss the horizon
before turning off
when you were young,
sixth grade, awkward hair,
trying to find yourself.
You were the class clown,
teacher’s pet, quiet one,
queen bee, reflective writer.
I loved teaching you.
Years passed, you grew up,
but you never stopped
smiling at me in the halls,
taking classes just because
I taught them, talking about
the days when you were young.
But now you are grown up
ready to leave these halls,
and I am left feeling old
and wondering if I’ll see you again.
You toss your hat, leave the stage,
leave a special place in my heart.
(Okay, so it’s getting published a day late, but hey, better late than never.)
There is a picture of a zebra
in my parents’ guest bathroom
taken when my brother visited
Namibia. Though it was afar,
it stared straight into the camera;
its gaze still pierces in black and white.
The first time I saw it, I admired
its incredible beauty but soon felt
awkward as it stared at me–piercingly–
by the toilet, at the sink, as I hurried
beneath its high shelf back to the door.
I must not be the only one
surprised by its gaze. A gazelle
has taken its place
and now stares at the zebra
hanging on a discrete wall by the door.