the italicized words form a haiku by Bashō

Lumbering up the coast, a hurricane wrapped in a cold
front, nine hundred forty-three millibars
of pressure, many times lower, and therefore
stronger, than any other system arising
from the tropics to make landfall north of Cape Fear.
From Hatteras to the barrier islands
off New Jersey, we can seethis disaster
unfolding on our screens: the waves,
the storm surge, even high tide, pulled
by the full moon. Ocean meets bay.
Bungalows, crab shacks, mansions: whose
house this is, the ocean doesnít care,
its solemn waters carrying off
what it pleases, setting its own pace,
its own tempo. Twisted coasters,
tilt-a-whirls, high water marks
as it piles up debris, reducing the boardwalk
to sticks, only pausing
when it hits Pennsylvania and shreds
in the mountains. Itís midnight now,
but I canít sleep, the wind shrieking
like a banshee yet.
Barbara Crooker

poems online



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