When Storms Cry Out, Cry In (with picture)

The Shack

Poems About Hurricane Irene

When Storms Cry Out, Cry In

To the beach
she was called to bless
the lifeguard shack
anchored in the sand

The lifeguards had laughed, expecting some incense,
hadn’t known her son had drowned, not known
her hope was jettisoned in the ocean, while
she had searched for potions of resurrection

She had begun her vocation with grit,
had tried to summon any spirit of his
when other ghosts came in the wash
and she had never seen him again —
had tumble-down cried out
cried in, for
her son had drowned

As a joke, to the shack
the lifeguards summoned her, a
psychic of some sort, they thought
the night before the storm

But she had cried in
cried out, must have known their guilt

No one would boast
they had seen the ghost,
though charming Irene
was a namesake

She’d stay alone for meditation
and chanting into the waves, only
the eldest shuddering when she said,
“I’ll lock up when I’m done.” He
remembered the one trapped in the shack
in the storm heard only as “THE ONE”

She went up to the roof
to look at the stars
and they departed with their vodka and beer

Irene heard howls from the bathroom
as foam surrounded the shack
a smell of seaweed and of a fisherman’s corpse

A psychic of some sort
she was washed out to sea,
crying out
crying in

Come to the light, Mom
he said, and

now every foamy year
with seaweed and corpses
a shack and a lifeguard are lost

—Douglas Gilbert

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