Pressure Drop / chris astwood

……….1
The hurricane spun above the island all night
without the eye crossing over, old shark oil
hanging angry and clouded by the kitchen window
from where lightning brighter than our lamps revealed slanting rain
and slanting trees, flying debris, shed crumpled like tinfoil.
The world looked black and purple in the storm’s flash photo,
and everything—bushes, houses, and the sea itself—screamed from the strain.
……….The elements torment themselves on this island
of devils. By eleven that night the batteries ran low
on the lamps, ……….the shutters jumped and mumbled,
and the hurricane’s inner bands uncoiled
tornados from between the folds of their winds ……………………that tore the lane’s
asphalt out and flung invisible things through the dark up the height
of the roof above me, ……….uprooted and shook the soil
from all manner of casuarina and palmetto, …….smashed stones on parked cars,
and ran out to sea…………… in off-kilter circles.
Night slowed, the wind blew back the minutes, day fixed in sight
without arriving.  …….Nothing dared risk the wind under the spoiled
power-lines and flying shadows.

……….2
In the eye, the hurricane’s voice wailed clearer—
……………….its tongue similar to ocean, with accents
……………….……of bent trees and wind howling through expensive
……………….properties and public beaches on the coast.
But the storm’s eye had shrivelled almost shut—
……………….the world in it wouldn’t last.
Wind change: ……………….Windows shut where the leeward side, windward now,
……………….had once been, and cracked open in the new lee
……………….……………to maintain equal pressure, indoors and out,
……………….……………….…………………….we waited for the eye to unfix its gaze.

……….3
Melt of candle, dim of battery powered lamp, smallness of flashlight—

all my own, all less than the sheet lightening that flashed behind my shutters.
All devices useless against sea jumping reef, gorging on beach sand,
coastal limestone, or unsecured boats, and retching debris back ashore.

Rain and salt-spray crosshatched the paling sky and the wind wouldn’t let up,

storm surge dredging dream-monsters up from the deep to torment the landlocked.
Sea-serpents twisted their cold bodies around houses, flicking their tongues
in time to a faint song that didn’t harmonize with the wind’s wailing,

or the screaming sea—something singing deeper than the hurricane could reach.

•••

Chris Astwood is a Bermudian poet, currently working towards his PhD in Creative and Critical Writing at the University of East Anglia. His poetry has been published in online and print journals including Iota, Other Poetry, The Rialto, and The Caribbean Writer.

One comment

  1. Reply

    Thank you for taking me into the eye of the storm. Thank you for taking me into the eye of the poem. Thank you for taking me into the I of the poet.
    Nancy Anne Miller

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