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Lauren McBride


The TV says it’'s coming -
the massive storm at sea.
We'’ve seen this many times before:
go gather groceries from the store;
but this one’'s cone of uncertainty
seems aimed at our community.

We watch the weather
and wonder whether
the path will pass near to here;
breathe a prayer for the storm
to weaken or wobble back to sea. 
All eyes stare at the TV.
While unfair to wish you elsewhere,
please spare our family!

Move the potted plants inside
so nothing can blow away -
bird feeders, yard toys, patio chairs….             
We steal moments here and there
to sit and stare at the news,
well aware of predicted tides;
must decide to go or stay.
It's on its way.

Cram dishes in the dishwasher,
no time to run the load.
Leave laundry on the drier,
no time to hang or fold.
Mending goes unmended.
Garden goes untended.
Grab portable pieces of our lives -
put the rest on hold.
Nibble snacks --– no time to cook;
gallon of milk left in the fridge.              
Count the hours 'til it sours,
without power to keep it cold.
Later I will wonder
how long before
the store will have more.
Find treasures, important papers,
phone numbers, contact names.
Pack small to fit all in the car.
Take pictures from their frames.
Choose only what's most meaningful
to me, to you.
The rest gets left behind.
So much to do
drives worry from the mind.
The storm swirls ever closer –--
clouds curve across the sky.
Wind and rain are coming,
but for now it’'s calm and dry.
Our neighborhood grows quiet;
the barking dogs are gone.
Thought I’'d never miss them,
'til I sense we'’re all alone.
Close up, board up the shutters.
It'’s time to leave our home.
Reluctantly we load the car
wishing desperately to stay.
For safety'’s sake we drive away
to travel far
with sorrow, some clothes,
prescriptions, pictures, papers,
canned goods, extra water and gas.
Hope it’'s enough to last.
With effort, our eyes are dry
as we bid farewell
to all we knew,
now gone from view,
and wonder
will just trees be uprooted -
or our family,
our community,
by the monster spawned at sea?
This poem first appeared in The Town Sun on October 7, 2005 in a slightly different form.
Used here with permission.



Lauren McBride finds inspiration in faith, family, nature, science, and membership in the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA). Nominated for various awards, her work has appeared internationally in speculative and mainstream publications for adults and young adults. She is the author of a poetry collection for teens, Aliens, Magic, and Monsters (Hiraeth, 2023). Lauren lives in Texas and enjoys swimming, gardening, baking, reading, writing, and knitting scarves for U.S. troops.



Post New Comment:
A blow by blow account. Well placed as Dorian skims the east coast.
Posted 09/03/2019 01:19 PM
So much in this poem! Well said.
Posted 09/03/2019 11:33 AM
how poignant: unfair to wish you elsewhere
Posted 09/03/2019 09:20 AM
michael escoubas:
Wonderful in its use of detail and imagery Lauren. I especially like "grab portable pieces of our lives" -- quite often these are all that's left in the aftermath. The whole nation is praying for this one to head out to sea!
Posted 09/03/2019 07:45 AM

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