Monday, August 27, 2012

storm warning!

                                                     Our hurricane, its riches

Too late to warn about the flood plain being a broken parasol; too late
for NOAA to decide Hurricane Floyd was the bully it proved to be.
Or was. Or the bullies it and the Pamlico River

were. Pamlico painted thousands of homes with Pamlico mud;
made rummage haphazardly of living rooms and kitchens, sailboats
of albums, their photos and recipes.

Uncounted were cherished dolls who drowned that 16th of September, 1999.
Pamlico toyed with many others; it rode strollers on its waves.
My daughters saw the parade of flotsam on the 17th. That day

there were blue skies and a slightly retreating river; Floyd wasn’t torrential
that day; he used broken trees as pointers to confirm it wasn’t him.
It was the duplicitous Pamlico sky, its gray rage. Now

it was bright blue. Along swollen banks, I imagined sad trombones trying
to rise from buried streets. I felt like I was in New Orleans, dazed on Sunday morning.
But it wasn’t Sunday.

It was three days before my children would open their Weekly Readers to see
Greenville. Before and after. It was fifteen minutes before their favorite Barbies
they’d put on Salvation Army tables would find new homes.

Actually, they’d find new arms and new hearts and their almost new cot
at the East Carolina gymnasium, a new home if you could call it that. Outside
the donation area, my girls watched to see if their dolls were chosen.

And they were. Two little girls had hugged them, still were when we saw them
walk away only with those dolls and nothing else. Floyd may have taken theirs,
and more, like a thief of whiskers and licks, purrs and hugs

but he missed these blue skies and my daughters’ vaults, filled with tears.

                                                B.Koplen 8/26/12

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