Journalism In Verse


What Can Break Us

in Environment by

Not the wind.

Not the cold black nights that yawn
into cold black mornings.

Not the rain’s icy darts
or the dark clouds that gather
and move slow
across the low country—
through the cow-filled pastures
still spare for want of spring;
over the bleak, blank hills
of wintry farmland;
through regal stands of pine—
then strike quick, diminishing

Not the violent sky that churns
grief into the landscape,
that reaches down
and scrubs the country
the opposite of clean.

Not even the wreckage,
the ache of rubble
and newly-emptied hands.

To you, my people heavy
with loss, I say: look up.
Beside you, a family stands ready
to raise whatever’s fallen.
Look up, look up:
your family is coming
to chase away the rain.




Funerals Begin for the 23 Victims; Corporations Will Cover Costs [The Weather Channel]
Alabama Tornado Devastation in Photos [The Atlantic]
EF-4 tornado brought 170 mph winds and left a track almost a mile wide amid storms that killed 23 in Alabama [CNN]

Raye Hendrix is a poet from Alabama, where she earned her BA and MA from Auburn University. Raye is currently pursuing her MFA at The University of Texas at Austin, where she was a finalist for the 2018 Keene Prize for Literature and the Fania Kruger fellowship in writing, and where she serves as the Online Content & Web Editor for Bat City Review. Her recent work can be found in Southern Indiana Review, The Pinch, Cherry Tree, and elsewhere.

Photo by Nikolas Noonan.

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