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Eye of the Storm

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, August 30, 2005

Green on green. Redbuds and maples
against the darker pines--
in this high wind and half-light,
a place briefly lovely as a coral reef,
the underwater currents'
many fingers combing the rich
growth west to east, west to east.
To the north, the storm clouds
mate, knotting one another in slick, fat coils,
showing here and there
their near-white underbellies.

That's how it appears
where I sit thinking, at a red light in Atlanta,
on the pinwheeling verges
of the storm. Here, it is an endless,
gorgeous yin and yang.
But along the Gulf, from New Orleans
crabwise to Mobile, it has been
this vastly hungry thing,
self-interested, indifferent
as a boa trussing up a mouse.

For me, it all comes down to this:
Last night, I learned the surgeons ferreted out
the tangled monster that has bred
among the imagined channels of your brain,
that thing that made its foul snakes' wedding
in places I have loved but never seen.
And suddenly, this has become
my all of human unhappiness--
this unseen beauty I imagine,
where the blackness bred,
and still breeds, its mandrake-rooted
you-and-not-you.

 

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