History of Hurricanes
Because we cannot know— we plant crops, make love in the light of our not-knowing A Minuteman prods cows from the Green with his musket, his waxed paper windows snapping in the wind, stiletto stalks in the herb garden upright—Now blown sideways—Now weighted down in genuflection, not toward, And a frail man holding an Imari teacup paces at daybreak in his courtyard in Kyoto a cherry tree petaling the stones pink and slippery in the weeks he lay feverish waiting for word from the doctor, checking for signs—Now in the season of earthenware sturdiness and dependency it must begin, the season of his recovery No whirling dervish on the radar, no radar, no brackets no voices warning—no Voice—fugue of trees, lightning Because we cannot know, we imagine What will happen to me without you? I know some things I remember— the Delaware River two stories high inside the brick houses cars floating past Trenton like a regiment on display brown water climbing our basement stairs two at a time Like months of remission— the eye shifts the waxed paper windows burst behind the flapping shutters— and how could he save his child after that calm, a man who'd never seen a roof sheared off? Across town the ninth graders in their cutoffs: Science sucks, they grouse. Stupid History of hurricanes. No one can remember one; velocity, storm surge— abstractions the earth churns as Isabel rips through Buzzard's Bay A hurricane, as one meaning has it: a large crowded assembly of fashionable people at a private house The river cannot remember its flooding— I worry you will forget to check the watermarks in time An echo of feet on stone is all the neighbors knew of their neighbor, a lover of cherry trees and of his wife who prayed for him at the shrine, her hair swept up in his favorite onyx comb
From History of Hurricanes by Teresa Cader. Copyright © 2009 by Teresa Cader. Used by permission of Northwestern University. All rights reserved.