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Sunday, September 01, 2019


by Richard Garcia


For you will be lifted up. For you will be thrown down.                                                                   Frank X. Gaspar, 'September Tropical'

The eye of the storm is turning towards us, the wheel of Biblical wind approaches, and my wife is watching a YouTube video, instructions on how to use the come-along, and she says, Come along with me, watch this, and don't place your forehead down on the table and roll your head back-and-forth, as if you were saying, What has she done now. And the tall man in the plaid shirt says, don't get your fingers caught in the gears of the come-along. And I get it: what if you have to drag the water-logged sofa across the floor of your living room and it's too heavy? You have the come-along. What if your generator, filled with gas and potentially explosive, is too heavy to lift over the flooded lawn and plug into the mysterious socket? You have the come-along. So this is how the Egyptians built the pyramids. They had Hebrew slaves and many come-alongs. This is how the Aztecs built those temples. They did not have wheels, they did not have gears, but they had tortillas and they were round, and the bite marks along a crusted edge of tortilla would suggest to them the gears of the come-along. The come-along—this is how we will ride out the storm, my love and I. This is how we will drag ourselves, drag our house, drag our dog Max—one chain attached to a tree, one chain attached to our house, both chains attached to the come-along—click by ratchety click, across the swirling, god-driven hurricane, to higher ground. 

Richard Garcia is the author of The Other Odyssey from Dream Horse Press, The Chair from BOA, and Porridge from Press 53. His poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies. He has won a Pushcart prize and has been in Best American Poetry. He lives in Charleston, S.C.