Doña Inez Remembers the Ravages of Hurricane Flora

Virgil Suarez

The way trees snapped like twigs, got uprooted,

slammed against the side of her house. Rattling

bones, she thought with her eyes closed. Leaves

swirled into riddles on her patio, left her secret

messages, huddle into corners. Birds’ nests flew

across the porch, old men’s beards, like her father’s.

She remembers the ravages of weather, time, space.

In the darkness she boiled water for tea, sipped

linden flower tea by the opened door, wind’s crisp

susurrus drying her lips, singing in her ears. What

doesn’t blow you away, she says, roots you like banyan,

like lover’s arms holding her against a hard mattress...

Then a night’s silence, water dripping everywhere,

crickets starting up, tentative at first, then bravado.

In her hands emptiness. In her chest memory flutters,

hands close in on a gardenia bud, its aroma lingering

after this passing storm. This scent of thunder, wet

earth, all her years flashing in front of her, burning.