Thence

Venturing out afterwards,
we count the bricks torn up
in the last hurricane, note

the welter of leaves stripped
from branches; see, as if for the first
time, stark form— Few layers now

obscure the view, so surface
and foreground more closely match
the underneath. All the gaudy

accessories— frills of russet leaf,
curled copper, tongues of topaz yellow—
recede into silt and verdigris

at the edges. And the water
that with the tidal surge rose
through narrow alleys by corner

restaurants, came up the steps
of a public library built in 1904
(foreclosed a few years ago by the Old

Point National Bank). It barely grazed
the sidewalks on our own street,
though merely a block away

the neighbors had two feet of water
in their garages. And no, we can’t
predict which of these buildings

will sink into the sea (brick or aluminum
siding, stucco, vinyl, fiber cement); which
ones will weather the onslaughts of another

century. Soon after inventories of its losses,
the city and its neighborhoods rumble slowly
back to life. The gulls return—

not that they ever left—
and like us, pick desultorily
through oddments, through debris.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

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