When Hugo blew through, it brought down the chain link
that kept our dog in and the little red house he refused,
which I sat atop when I visited him, shingles scratching
at my thighs, because he was too strong and while sweet,
untrained, half-feral, coat dusty with stink. He ran freely
that day. We got news of sightings from people who
expected we had the power to get him back. Two trees
came down, too: one cracked my bedroom window;
the other sliced through the sunroom so that we woke
to grieve the Nintendo catamaran bobbing in still waters,
its cord a dragging anchor. Next door, the storm ripped
the lining from the Geralds’ pool and rather than make
repairs they filled it for a garden. That fall I chewed
wild onions at the chain link fence while a watermelon
materialized in the fill-dirt so far past season. It bruised
into the earth like a bedsore and went unpicked, swelling
with decay until Mr. Gerald went on and kicked it.
It exploded with a wet, sudden cough, its red mist
raining down upon field peas, furred okra, the fine white
Carolina sand in which nothing at all should have grown.
Photo in Public Domain.