Propensities of Water

It's that time of year again: hurricanes
rise out of heated beds of seawater 
and arrow toward the Gulf Coast, wide
flamenco skirts whipped to billowing 
and swishing—their frothy mass like lace
coming apart in tatters.  People will board up 
store fronts and ocean-facing windows, pray 
that this year won't be worse than last.
But rain fell for the first time in recorded 
history at the highest point on Greenland's
ice sheet—and still, scientists say it's probable
that this is a sign of global warming. 
At the bank on a Friday afternoon, the woman
helping us fill out payable-on-death forms
has a demeanor both cheerful and practical.
Under the sleeves of her robin's-egg- 
blue blazer, on one wrist she wears a fitness 
tracker, and on the other, a medical bracelet.
And we understand— none of what we're there for
is necessarily morbid: we're only trying to limit
some of the unknowns and probabilities
that those who survive us would have
to struggle through, if we didn't take
this opportunity to prepare. We don't know
what ancient viruses might even now 
be waking up beneath melting 
glacier waters, their crags once silvery
as the hair on my mother's head. I can't 
know if I'll ever see her again—not through
a screen— in her lifetime or mine; or if I'll 
dance in the arms of my love to celebrate 
the passing of one or two more decades. 
But after we sign our names on the dotted lines
and walk back into the burning afternoon, I tell
myself this is what lightness must feel like,
after shearing off one more thing. 

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