2012 National Finalist

Hurricane, A Disease

I.     Storm
The hurricane wrapped itself, a monster
in silken sleeves, and tore through
one shoreline town where she lived
soft-spoken and slightly afraid.  It rained for days,
like the monsoon when her Chinese river
purged itself of demons,
so the rain came down to a thirsty people on the
verge of hail.

Avalanche, tumbling weeds, waterfall sky,
the spices of home had come
to remind her.

II.    Dark
There was no running water or power
for weeks, and the plastic screens of an age finally
quieted.  Her neighbors relearned each
other’s names.  They
filled each other’s bathtubs then
heard the hum-hum-hum inside crying trees,
then watched every flooded beach where the
girls with unpainted faces rose

from the water, as nymphs
emerging from caverns where they
found a fragment.  At last.

III.            Afterwards
The lights came on eventually, as did the World
Wide Web, and the little town threw away
all the carcasses blocking their way to
work.  Soon her name was forgotten by the
white house next door, then by colorblind children.
The hurricane passed with its molasses wind:

still the little people have not
learned what it means
to want what they wanted

Cathy Guo, age  15
Madison, Connecticut

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