Submitted Date 08/15/2018

Beaufort, North Carolina, August 2011

NOTE: This poem takes place around midnight, two days after Hurricane Irene; I had just had a surgical hip replacement a few months before the storm arrived. The power was out and would remain out for the next week which we expected.

Back at home
the storm 500 miles gone
the house is dark
the cats scared
that we were away

We open windows
and light candles
in the damp hot air --

The flames carve corners,
edges in the rooms
as my wife walks in shadows
with only a tank top

Exhausted from driving
and still nursing
a replaced hip
I sit in my favorite chair
listening to the only
classical station 
on my battery radio

It's Mahler, not my favorite,
but symphony #3 builds
for an hour
along with the static
as the cats prowl the house
looking for pieces of wind
left by Irene

Except for branches and limbs
our home is untouched

And soft quiet darkness 
floods our street
like a still point 
I can see 
the black figures of the cats
lying flat against the carpet
as my love moves from room to room
as Mahler reaches his height

And then 
like the eye of the storm
I 'get it' 
in all its fragility

NOTE: Mahler's 3rd Symphony is the longest symphony in the standard classical repertoire with six movements and lasting more than an hour and a half. The final movement is entitled: "What Love Tells Me."

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