They used cracked and splintered
porch doors as stretchers for the bodies,
for the mommas and cousins and math
(Whatever would do. They were out of
proper stretchers, and bandages, and
morphine. The Red Cross was set up
at the Piggly Wiggly. You don’t get
choosy in wartime).
The house where we played Neuromancer
on the Commodore
The house where you’d put my hand
under your black bra
The house where we’d listened to Tesla
But these were just places, just
gray plastic and dull copper,
Dothan brick and Bessemer steel.
Fresh cut wood, that’s what my daddy
told me it smells like after the storm, after
the phone lines are back up.
(He told me this on April 27, 2011, as I stood
in the middle of Saint Mary Street and stared
at the sky, biting the insides of my cheeks).
His house didn’t get exploded, he wasn’t
left with shatterered femurs twisted under
concrete blocks, he didn’t have to ride on
a busted porch door to the Red Cross shelter
down at the Piggly Wiggly.
They don’t even give the damned tornados
names like they do their slow, fat-assed cousins,
lumbering in from the Gulf, chewing up
everything in sight, names so kind, almost
mild: Camille, Hugo, Katrina, the names of
mommas & cousins &