Events

When the storm bore down it caused tidal flooding—
around here, what they like to call one of the biggest 

weather events. When I hear the word event 
I think of parties or conferences. A going-away, 

for instance—for a coworker who recently resigned. 
A welcome, for the person who will take her place. Not silty

water lapping at the foot of the statue in front of the Museum.
Not basements and garages newly annexed to the river bank.

Here we are surrounded by water: three rivers, a swamp, 
a bay. One day we won't be able to shelter behind words. 

One day we'll remember the name of that fabled city 
that sank into the sea; already, its neon signboard flickers 

to life beneath the waters. Recently, I learned the word 
allograft, which the dictionary describes as a tissue graft 

from a donor the same species as the recipient, but not 
genetically identical. As when a doctor in the early '60s

conducted experimental transplants of chimpanzee kidneys 
into 13 patients (one of them stayed alive for 9 months); or 

when skin from a newly deceased donor is grafted on 
to the body of a burn victim. It's different from allograph,

which is a variant or form that a letter may take—for instance,
the f in fern sounds the same as the f in suffer, as well as enough. 

Once I read that a blue whale's heart is so large, a child
could walk through its chambers. The blue whale's heart

weighs about 400 pounds, a human heart only 10 ounces.
When even the hellebore and lamb's ear, sedum and thyme

are gone, who will be left to measure out elegy, who
will remain to witness all the life we will have drowned?

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