The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review
littlereview

Poem for Saturday, Catoctin Creek Sheep, Past Tense


History of Hurricanes
By Teresa Cader

Because we cannot know—
   
we plant crops, make love in the light of our not-knowing
   
A Minuteman prods cows from the Green with his musket,
his waxed paper windows snapping in the wind,
stiletto stalks in the herb garden upright—Now
   
blown sideways—Now weighted down in genuflection,
   
not toward,
   
And a frail man holding an Imari teacup paces at daybreak
            in his courtyard in Kyoto
   
a cherry tree petaling the stones pink and slippery
            in the weeks he lay feverish
   
waiting for word from the doctor, checking for signs—Now
   
in the season of earthenware sturdiness and dependency
            it must begin, the season of his recovery
   
   
   
   
No whirling dervish on the radar, no radar, no brackets
no voices warning—no Voice—fugue of trees, lightning
   
Because we cannot know, we imagine
   
What will happen to me without you?
   
   
   
   
I know some things I remember—
   
the Delaware River two stories high inside the brick houses
cars floating past Trenton like a regiment on display
brown water climbing our basement stairs two at a time
   
   
   
   
Like months of remission—
                        the eye shifts
   
the waxed paper windows
                      burst behind the flapping shutters—
   
and how could he save his child after that calm,
a man who'd never seen a roof sheared off?
   
   
   
   
Across town the ninth graders in their cutoffs:
Science sucks, they grouse. Stupid History of hurricanes.
   
No one can remember one;
   
velocity, storm surge—
                        abstractions
the earth churns as Isabel rips through Buzzard's Bay
   
A hurricane, as one meaning has it:
a large crowded assembly of fashionable people at a private house
   
   
   
   
The river cannot remember its flooding—
   
          I worry you will forget to check
                        the watermarks in time
   
An echo of feet on stone is all the neighbors
                   knew of their neighbor,
                        a lover of cherry trees
   
and of his wife who prayed for him at the shrine,
her hair swept up in his favorite onyx comb

--------

Guess what I was Googling when I discovered that poem! Our news all day has been dominated (for a change) not by the election but by imminent doom approaching from the southeast, a.k.a. Frankenstorm, which is going to ruin 1) the weekend, 2) Halloween, and 3) Election Day when Hurricane Sandy comes ashore in 1) Norfolk, 2) Philadelphia, or 3) New York and 1) knocks over trees and knocks out electricity, 2) floods houses and subways and pollutes clean water supplies, and 3) merges with a nor'easter to creates a massive snowstorm. We went out and bought toilet paper, bottled water, and gas, but if our power goes out briefly, we are planning to mooch off my parents' new generator, and if the entire region goes out, we are planning an impromptu visit to my in-laws. We have theater tickets for Sunday in the Brandywine Valley with dementordelta and are hoping the storm arrives late enough that we can go!

In other news, I posted a review of the two parts of Deep Space Nine's "Past Tense", which remains as socially relevant as it was when it first aired; I refrained from drawing too many parallels between the Romney-Ryan plan for America and the America of 2024 portrayed in the episode (particularly since it was written in the post-Reagan era in response to the Gingrich budget), but it's all too easy to imagine the Occupy tent villages winding up turned into Sanctuary Districts. We took Adam and Maddy to her house for dinner with her parents, had dinner with my parents, then came home and watched Nikita (LOL Doctor Who fans) before retrieving Adam and subjecting ourselves to The Weather Channel. Here are some photos from Catoctin Creek Farm, which primarily raises sheep for wool, though there are chickens and kittens running around too:















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