A Prayer before Landfall

I didn’t ask for strength. I asked for it not
to be the last night we risked mosquito gas
to watch the stars make perfect, dizzy sense.
I said to the television weatherman,
Please shave. How about some infomercials
in place of this hurricane churning nonstop
on the blue screen while I gas the car and pack.
How long to leave for? What about the cats?
Somehow the kids believe we leave tomorrow
for a real vacation, not a landlocked
motor lodge in Cleveland, Mississippi.
I took my last look. I saw the sky pines
shift from foot to foot in the outskirt winds,
and I said, let them do so without omen. Amen.


Alison Pelegrin
from her book Big Muddy River of Stars
University of Akron Press, 2007

Used with permission of the poet.

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