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Grey Sparrow Journal

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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Storm Island

 

 

At first it was a single downed trunk

jammed up against our downtown bridge

footing, wishbone shape wedged broadside

the current.  No one thought much about that

river-washed roost for ducks and geese.

 

Years passed, and the rains returned.  The river

spread its muddy cloak over the bottom-

lands, gathering flotsam of storms to hasten

southward on its brown, fast-moving flood.

More branches hooked onto the lodged tree trunk.

 

With each storm the woody mass grew until

it became an island patched together

from the disparate, far-flung wrack of

generous rains.  Its tight weave collected

a soil in which new green life could root.

 

The island, now a solid tangle of storm-

debris shaped by forces of circumstance

and weather, challenges with its right
to be here.  Who has the strength or will

to tear asunder those implicated limbs?

 

Disasters uproot us, carry us along

with their flow, lock us into each other. 

Surely bigger, wilder storms will bring

new detritus to thicken our island.  What

right have we storm-borne to refuse them?

 

                 —Thomas R. Smith