[39] Watching Ida Barnstorm the South, Gary English

Louisiana spins tales: the Gulf storm grows.
I scan my wooden shack,
where light blinks between slats that wobble in wind volleys.
My sons exploring their passions, my wife embedded in earth
pervade the home they once possessed—
Spanish moss memories
hanging from live oaks outside my cabin.
Satellite scenes on my TV depict
Fibonacci spirals
expanding over the sea like a moonflower, unfolding
in a slow spin north toward alligator-green bayous.

Its whale-like blow spews
a cataract of seawater over the Delta.
Signpost, house frame surrender their grips.
Rocks and rebar, studs and shingles
barricade the roads.
Incessant tides transform streets into canals,
houses into islands in my river city.
The onslaught persists until light.
Pirogues emerge to navigate through the litter
as dawn surveys the new topography.
Morning lauds are muted.

Inside, my shelter offers no shelter.
I crouch under uncovered rafters,
amid fractured wallboards, splintered glass;
My waterlogged mattress askew
over a cistern gouged from the floor in the night.
Sons can’t return to the cabin they called home.
The sweat-stenched A-shirt clings heavy.
My coarse-haired, muddy head falls
in surrender.

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