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History of Hurricanes

Teresa Cader
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.

From History of Hurricanes by Teresa Cader. Copyright © 2009 by Teresa Cader. Used by permission of Northwestern University. All rights reserved.

Teresa Cader