After the hurricane, I still grip
paper plates, my phone, my daughter
the six hours lost on the road
west toward Tampa

as if everything
all of us struggling to stay
afloat on that highway

will be split down the middle
by pine trees high as beanstalks
and carried away on waves
more giant than whale.

When we returned from exile
we pushed our stories over cash registers
        into the foreign faces of grocery clerks
        bussed in from neighboring towns

through relieved teeth and jugs
of spring water, new meat: 
power’s out
no damage
we left

for days we slept
in the heat from our bodies

the children played outside.


Port Orange, FL

I'm an associate professor of English at Daytona State College and a recent survivor of Hurricane Matthew. I've published across genres, but this winter, you'll find my work in Dying Dahlia and Hypertrophic.

Michelle LeeComment