Ann Howells

NOR'EASTER

Trees crack, take out our lines,
leave us blinded and mute,
feeling on Grandpa’s rolltop desk
for kerosene lamps—
a company of reserves called up
in times of barometric unrest—
when the needle falls,
and our unease is measured
in inches of mercury.

Growling northeast wind
pushes tide, drives whitecaps,
nips heels, herds them inland,
onto the beach and into yards.

We are in a waterglobe
shaken by an angry child;
horizontal sheets of water—
blend of sea and sky—close over us,
deep water engulfs the road,
divides our island.

During brief lulls we discern,
through grey-green troughs,
the pale profile of our boat
and naked pilings—
sentinels derelict in duty,
for the pier is gone, lifted,
ripped away, dashed against rock,
debris to be gathered from sand—
a weed and driftwood edging
that will diagram a high water line
six feet from our door.
Process Notes: “‘Nor’easter’ is a repeated childhood memory, as storms roared up the river and we hunkered down. Being as rural as we were, every storm knocked out both phone and power. Our house was on one of the highest points of the island. We never had the river inside the house, but it came awfully close sometimes.”

Ann Howells’ poetry has appeared in Calyx, Crannog (Ire), Little Patuxent Review, Magma (UK), Sentence and Spillway among others. She serves on the board of Dallas Poets Community, 501-c-3 non-profit and has edited their journal, Illya’s Honey, since 1999, recently taking it from print to digital (www.IllyasHoney.com). One chapbook, Black Crow in Flight, was published by Main Street Rag Publishing (2007) and another, the Rosebud Diaries, was published by Willet Press (2012).

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