Next time we’ll try and do what’s right:
tie the lawn chair to the deck,
stow in the shed what’s apt to fly,
listen close to those who know by heart
what breaks in times like these
and what might keep.
This is no age that holds bad news at bay:
the big storm brewing in the night,
and written daily in the skies.
The umbrella we forgot outside
gets called to duty in the reckless wind–
all we can do is hunker down and wait.
We find out middle of the night
more of what we might have known–
a tree comes down with whoosh and crack–
the circus sound of whip in air,
not the earth-shaking thud
we’d dreamed and feared.
We stumble out at dawn to gasp and behold
this streetscape we wished we’d memorized—
now downed trees, smashed cars, life’s debris,
chainsaws gearing up to go. All subject to change
at the whim of winds—we thought was ours
was not ours to keep.
by Alan Walowitz
Editor’s Note: This poem’s impressive rhythm breaks down in the last stanza, mirroring the destruction the narrator realizes could not be helped.