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On the Edge of Hurricane Isaac
Florida, 2012
by Mary Jo Balistreri

Isaac approaches. Dark clouds color the gulf plum-purple. At the Sandpiper
restaurant, a man devours creamy oatmeal spooned up with cranberries. He
talks to himself between bites. The Daily News lies unopened. Someone
lowers the shutters while servers remove sweeteners, vases of flowers.
Shorebirds sense danger.

an eagle's keen cry joins
the clatter of palm fronds

Running on the beach. Alarms. Ground lightning. The charcoal sky. A crash.

red flesh
of a mangrove rent in half—

Rain pummels my bare skin. Hunched into the wind, it grabs and pulls me
sideways. Fear shoves me forward. Stumbling, water crests over my body.
Getup, don't stop! I try and fall again. Men drag me up wooden steps to the
shelter. A woman wraps a blanket around me, holds and calms me like the
child I've become. Caught in the wind, the blade of a ceiling fan harrows
the tin roof and whittles the wood siding.

broken shells…
dead fish and a loggerhead
piled against the door

First pubished: Akitsu Quarterly.  

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