The first year I lived in Florida, a woman told
me, nothing dies here but the people. The first
night of the hurricane, my sister stayed all night
by the window, sure the frogs seeking shelter
in its sill were telling her, get out get out get.
A coffin lifted six feet by tree roots met us
in the road the next morning, like earrings
you’d find again on a long walk, a body shot
in these hills. There was a man standing
by the ditch until the storm passed, dangling
like a two month wait for answers.
On a pallet in the closet, we waited out
the rest of that storm. We talked about lost
fish in coral enclaves. We fantasized about
opening a storage unit business surrounded
by hibiscus and crepe myrtles. We tried to calm
the storm by cooking its favorite meals: guns
in nightstands, dead butterflies on poolside
patio tables, grill-marked wicker mailboxes,
signs for mayor, and yet only these untouched.
We tried to go online for show-times. We agreed
to observe curfews. We refrained from looting.
We washed our clothes. We counted our dead
in order to estimate the living.
Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 20, Issue 3.
See all items about Erica Bernheim