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.
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.