America, it’s the day after
another hurricane hurtles
through towns, a fringe
of tornados leading the way.
The Baptist Church on the corner
of 38th and Bluestone has its face
sheared off completely by blades
of wind. Oak trees lie on their sides,
unpinned from lawns. Pine
branches intersect with power
lines. America, I used to believe
in your storied generosity: how
firefighters and volunteers alike
paddled through high water
to pluck shivering families off
their roofs; how police tapped
on the window to ask if every-
thing was alright instead of
ordering an entire family,
down to the youngest child,
to lie on the asphalt, arms
crossed behind their backs.
My only crime, said Carlos
Bulosan, is to be a Filipino in
Did you know the nurse
who checks your vitals in the crowded
ICU first studied to be a teacher, and
her husband who drives a truck
has a degree in physics? All night,
the warning signals blare on
and off. One of the neighbors
worries about the man who sat
bundled in a blanket on the corner
across the drugstore. The rain
was still falling, but there was
no more room in the shelters.

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