Lately I’ve had hurricanes on my mind.
The Quality of Light
Between Camille and Katrina
Light grew indigenous.
Electricity fled. She guttered.
Her calm candle swirled hypnotic veils,
In her light, infinite veils.
She swayed. Electricity
Mandated on or off.
Restless wick wavering—but see!
Past the grey appliance shadows,
Past this tin excuse for a room,
Past this middle-class world,
This nothing-class home,
This crazy-class pew:
She lied. Of course
She lied. What else
Could she do?
Between twin-girl hurricanes
Light craved her body.
Air was insufficient.
Liquid boiled off.
She consumed all worship
With careless cruelty,
Easy as breathing.
Fire does that. It’s not personal.
Flames lit the ancient world
Before electricity switched us
On or off. Embers, ashes, odors;
Burnt flesh scented the verdant earth
Before we were named for our parts.
Before we were forced to choose,
She burned. She named herself
In defiance, in uncertain light.
How can I fault her for this?