Remember Hurricane Irene?

Nancy Flynn Apostrophe Blog Archive, Publication News

FlowerPetalsPhotograph by David Stanley

The Apostrophe Blog

Musings on Writing and Life.

You know, the storm to trump all storms a full year before Superstorm Sandy?

“Weather Hysteria,” my poem written when the 24/7 news media was a chattering frenzy about Hurricane Irene barreling hither and yon threatening to destroy East Coast civilization in August 2011 will be published later this year in the anthology, Petals in the Pan, from Kind of a Hurricane Press. It is the “featured poem” which means it starts off the volume, announcing the themes to follow.


Hurricane Irene has the eye
for the East Coast and what I do is open
my wooden-sash windows, and doors.
To let the morning air in sweet,
a field of Crayola
“mauvelous” cosmos on the parking strip
in their confusion/profusion
to beguile
as if it’s Van Gogh’s Provence garden,
eyes squinted, bedazzled
as he seizes the brush,
always going for the devilish
verb, forget about any diluting adjective’s addition —
he channeled crux.

It is Saturday.
I have been feral, alone all week,
hunkered with the gerunds and the ferns.
Watering the lazy housewife beans
climbing their tipi of bamboo poles.
Snipping the dying
blooms of dahlia, zinnia, phlox.
Cutting back the windowbox geranium,
leggy because it’s starved for bright
this northwest summer that lasted all of
six or seven days.

There’s a bug with a face, an African mask —
shaman or unremarkable god? —
above my desk between window and screen
waving Hello. Any body in there? Does anybody see
how already one burnt
sienna leaf fell,
brittle but unbroken,
caught by the thorn of a climber rose?

Because, of course, I never got around to
pruning this season, captured instead
by the parts of speech,
stringing them daily,
lexical hankies on the line
across the driveway
where they dry, sometimes sail,
evaporations toward every lie

hoisted above my unintelligible
hopscotch chalk.

Because a sidewalk can never
yield the truth, night upon night,
this earth spinning that sun,
reckoning with
earthquake, heat wave,
ice that melts,
and every door in this house
recklessly ajar.

As if I could crayon a sonnet
from whatever makes a hurricane
first category 1, then downgrade
to tropical storm,
these sentences that never rise,
my free-verse floods —
disaster longings that reach
then retreat into the invitation
that is an August shower overnight,
its rooftop serenade. Then poof!
It’s this coloring-book poem
with a magic wand to wave.
Oh, look
how painless it is
to change the weather
and the station.

Nancy Flynn
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