MEDITATION ON GEORGES, 1998
I awake to the steel drum rain and shouting wind.
The sky is raging with blue-black clouds,
drunk with crystals.
Lights die like leaves in winter
and force the use of white tea candles,
giving a colorless glow.
Just enough to see the boy from next door
jump into a canoe and paddle up the street,
now a newborn river,
bathed in falling corrugated zinc and yesterday’s trash.
Hurricane Georges has hit Puerto Rico with winds of over 115 miles per hour. It has devastated
lands, homes, and many businesses. So far, the death toll is 563 in the Caribbean, but more
deaths are expected.
I stay in the living room,
surrounded by my seventy-year home,
bought and paid for with years of heavy-hand work.
Every room has a memory:
the time Esmeralda danced plena,
the night Pedro had too much to drink at Carnival,
and when I prided myself on playing drums like Tito.
More than 25, 000 people in Puerto Rico were forced to evacuate their homes because of
Hurricane Georges. The 400-plus shelters are full and have reached the capacity limit.
The sky turns silent
and the rain crashes against my window.
I think of this house,
now hostage to flooding and sliding.
Who can name this waiting,
spinning hours like an endless alphabet.
I breathe an echo,
returning syllables over growing waves.