Photograph used by kind permission of Phil Hinton


We caught the tail-end of their hurricane.
She was not yet fully spent, like a fading
soul diva, who may no longer rock the gowns
and dresses, but whose lungs still retain
the power to snatch anyone’s attention.

Her momentum had smuggled a tropical grenade
across the Atlantic. It strafed our skies for
half a day and an endless night. The old trees
largely shrugged it off. It was the younger ones
– their growth too tall, too close, too rapid –

who fell, though they were only upended,
pushed over, throwing up the underskirts of
their exposed roots in shame, not snapped
across their trunks and flung as shrapnel
at fields and villages tens of miles distant.

In the aftermath, we entered the woods again,
found ourselves arrested by exotic air, the remnant
of scents we couldn’t identify. And if we closed
our eyes, we heard them on the wind – now nothing
but a background stirring – those calypso rhythms.

first published in The Cannon’s Mouth, Issue  61, 2016


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