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Before Hurricane Idalia Arrives

Some Good News Today

With Hurricane Idalia on its way, beach chairs umbrellas surfboards got shoved into the shed under the cottage, car moved to the church’s higher ground, the ordinary things you do on a barrier

island when the wind bends sea oats

to the sand, when roiling surf crosses

dunes, the road, full moon high tide

a few days before Labor Day, the end

of one more summer disappearing

into ocean spray, mist on my unshaven

face, wiped away with a sandy forearm,

my tan vanishing like old friends gone

too soon from places I still expect to see

them, the surf shop, the KOA, so I walk into

sand stinging wind on this lonely strand

looking for their faces in a camera phone

crammed with photos of happy kids

in the surf, the new baby with kitschy

sunglasses in an inflatable blue pool,

snapshots to be framed, hung on the kitchen

wall next spring, assuming the old cottage

will still be standing after rocking

on its pilings through another hurricane

season … or what some call unforeseen

eventualities that make all assumptions

presumptuous through a life spent treading

water, watching for a sail, a wave, a fin.

So when the raging universe floats a life

preserver my way, as it did today, offering

a place to hang my weary arms, chin

resting on the rough canvas, all I could do

was close my eyes, ride the swells, listen

for my lost friends’ laughing voices echoing

through crashing waves, and wait out

this storm before the next one blows through

–SL, Hatteras Island, NC, August 30, 2023

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