Dear weather warning, you sound the alarm
instructing us to put away deck chairs, lower
umbrellas in the event of a gale. Onscreen,

clouds of many colors move across
the map, thick patches of red-orange 
driving heavy rainfall from Georgia 

to the Carolinas to Virginia. You 
rouse us from sleep with a hallucination
of sound: an onrushing train for which 

we will need to remember, in our panic
haze, whether or not this is the time to stop, 
drop, and roll or the time to climb into

a bathtub and drag a mattress for putting
over our heads. Dear red flag, dear signal
of our coming distress—there is only

so much we can pack into a cooler
or a backpack or the trunk of a car.
Should the ocean crest its barriers

or fire leap from mountain to mountain,
licking the roofs of houses before exhausting
its unpredictable career, some of us will be

part of an exodus glimpsed from the air as a slow-
moving chain of bodies. Some of us will stay, 
not knowing where else to go but into the eye

of the storm. Dear tragedy, dear heartbreak scenario, 
I understand that. I too would rather be plunged
quick and whole or even unlimbed into the depths 

of the sea, rather than under a schoolroom desk, 
cowering as a fury of bullets picks out targets one 
by one as if our children were nothing but toys.

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