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AFTER THE HURRICANE (poem) - Ishion Hutchinson - Jamaica - Poetry International
 
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AFTER THE HURRICANE
After the hurricane walks a silence, deranged, white as the white helmets
of government surveyors looking into roofless

shacks, accessing stunned fowls, noting inquiries
into the logic of feathers, reversed, like gullies still retching; they scribble facts

about fallen cedars, spread out like dead generals on leaf
medallions; they draw tables to show the shore

has rearranged its idea of beauty for the resort
villas, miraculously not rattled by the hurricane’s –

call it Cyclops – passage through the lives
of children and pigs, the one eye that unhooked

banjos from the hills, smashed them in Rio Valley;
they record how it howled off to that dark parish

St. Thomas, stomping drunk with wire lashes and cramps,
paralyzing electric poles and coconut trees,

dishing discord among neighbours, exposed,
standing among their flattened, scattered lives for the first time.

It passed through Aunt May’s head, upsetting
the furniture, left her chattering something,

a cross between a fowl and a child; they can’t say
how it tore down her senses, no words, packing

their instruments, flies returning to genuflect
at their knees, on Aunt May’s face, gone soft;

no words, except: Don’t fret, driving off,
as if they had left better promises to come.