Journalism In Verse


Oya Awakened

in Hurricanes/World by

When the pressure dropped 

and Irma’s path shifted toward the Keys, 

lifting dust she’d carried from the Sahara, 

starlings crowded into the eaves

of our house. And as we waited 

in the candle-lit dark, the storm

surge reached over the seawall,

winds howled through our shutters

like the wails of Africans trapped 

in the hold of slavers that followed 

the same route as these hurricanes. 

The trees bore the brunt of her wrath.

Only a live oak, blasted of its leaves,

stands naked in a cluster of banyans, 

their upturned roots’ grasp at the sun, 

while the easy glide of turkey buzzards 

over choked canals reveals the sudden 

beauty of clearings across the skyline.



Unpaid Florida inmates forced to clean up after Hurricane Irma [Miami New Times]
Hurricane Irma: Three quarters of one county still without power [CNN]
Oya [Wikipedia]

Born in Jamaica, Geoffrey Philp is the author of the novel, Garvey’s Ghost and a collection of poems, Hurricane Center. His work has been published in the Oxford Book of Caribbean Short Stories and the Oxford Book of Caribbean Verse. A graduate of the University of Miami, Geoffrey teaches English and creative writing at Miami Dade College.

Photo by Sam Burriss.

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