About the Weather
by Wendy Taylor Carlisle

An Island guards its residue of damage, sidewalks wet with toys and soggy pants,

alleys colonized by garbage bags and junk, refrigerators lining the sidewalk,

doors jawed wide, stinking in the sun, the broke-in stores, the boarded banks,

the mud and broken slats that sifts through cars and boats, the beached plastic

bags that waver on the verges. This island resembles other islands but is only like itself— 

its memories of Colombus, and the Taìnon, flor de maga and kapok, El Yunke,

its palm and sea breeze, turquoise, lemon and rojo intenso. Wherever water lashed,

people share the vernacular of make-do, and hand-in-hand, a new set of stubbornness

in folk who weathered it out— the tobacco-stained tooth, the stringy bicep,

the wrecked kids, hungry, jacked up, half-wild, running the alleys.

What humans did in other weathers is what they do next—stand in the food line,

stand at the back of a truck full of supplies, pray for clean water,

wait for the FEMA to come to the mountains, call the relatives to say “we’re alive,”

listen for the cries of saws and hammers to lift, too late, over the island.

 

 

About the Poet:  Wendy Taylor Carlisle lives in the Arkansas Ozarks. She is the author of three books, Reading Berryman to the Dog, Discount Fireworks, The Mercy of Traffic, (Unlikely Books, 2019) and five chapbooks, most recently They Went Down to the Beach to Play (2017.) Her work appears in Persimmon Tree, pacificREVIEW, 2RiverView, Artemis, barzakh, Right Hand Pointing, Cider Press Review, Unlikely Stories and others and in a dozen anthologies including, Untold Arkansas (etAlia Press, 2018) and 50/50:  (Quill’s Edge Press, 2018). For more information, check her Facebook pages, Wendy Taylor Carlisle and The Mercy of Traffic and her website at www.wendytaylorcarlisle.com.

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