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Thursday, March 10, 2022


by Steven Croft

"the wind will rise, / we can only close the shutters."
—Adrienne Rich

The Emergency Alert System dial-up screech has crossed
the television with warnings several times when I nudge
the dog out the back door.

Tall pines freighted with the wind's push sway, wave lateral
arms, recompose when the wind lets go. Finger branches
splayed with needles snap, parachute down.

The dog finishes, runs back to the sound of myriad drops
touching leaves with tiny slaps. I close the glass door,
watch the wind flex muscles against an overgrown azalea.

In the house, out of harm's way, I realize there is really no
safe distance anymore.  I feel anxiety born recently,
how Irma ripped a five-hundred-pound branch from a pine.

And I still hear its fingers' soaked-green needles whipping
the edge of my tin roof, and later the sound of chainsaws
in the island's sunlit wreckage, mine one of them.

Can the twenty-first century afford the price of petroleum?
Our bad karma circling back on us with skies dark as
a funeral coat, ready to drop snakeskins of churning wind?

Should we consult climatologist oracles: leave the coast,
construct your buildings with rock-solid materials. Or forget
warnings and sniff the air like animals knowing when to run?

Or is the world brighter now when, after the wind sweeps
the earth for hours, like tonight, in catharsis, the power
stays on and no destruction comes?

Steven Croft lives on a barrier island off the coast of Georgia. He is the author of New World Poems (Alien Buddha Press, 2020).  His poems have appeared in Willawaw Journal, San Pedro River Review, The New Verse News, North of Oxford, Anti-Heroin Chic, Soul-Lit, and other places, and have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net.