Hurricane: The Brac
Ashley Mace Havird
The hurricane of ’32
laid bare the bones of this ironshore,
a Paleozoic mudpie of coral and mollusk
that shreds your best Nikes
yet preserves a kaleidoscope of flip-flops
borne over--they say--from Jamaica
on bottlegreen waves that sing all day.
Emerald parrots squawk from the sea-grape.
They say a magnetic band
stretches through these islands.
It holds sunset for hours--
wave upon wave of salmon and apricot.
A find--this grove of coconut palms,
white curl of sand, bleached conchs,
and one salt-rusted truck.
Two young women, coffee-dark,
lock arms around a grandmother
with dragging legs.
They sit her upright in the lip of the sea,
a doll they have to share.
They splash, singing like girls at her feet.
She includes them--no more, no less--
in the sweep of her eyes.
Old one, I've heard stories.
Your soles, in the tease of froth,
might wear a fabric of scars
from your climb to the bluff's caves
across prickly pear and rock
sharp as the teeth of barracuda. . . .
Did, that night, the sea-become-sky
scythe clean from your arms
the one thing you carried?
The backs of my own legs grow heavy on wet sand.
The water--a good ruffled petticoat
ripped and ruined.
I see through clouds of cataracts
a hurricane of color in the sky.
I follow with the old one the waves,
the flood of magenta
that ebbs at a salt-scorched sea-grape,
child like a rag doll
snagged by a low branch.