Poetry: Tornado – The Washington Tornado November 17, 2014

Just about three years ago, a storm ripped through our local area. Although I was not in its direct path, it touched my life and people I knew. I was alone that day, returned from grocery shopping, waiting for my son to return from a visit with his grandparents. At the time, I was in a tiny basement apartment, hunkered down and cranking up the heat.  The winds outside were brutal, freezing cold. I did not have the tv or radio or internet.  It was all down due to the storm.

tronado 2

My son got home safely and we had a quick dinner and went to sleep early. I didn’t know until I went to work the next day that a little town a few miles over had been nearly wiped from the earth.  They found road signs from Washington nearly 80 miles away in Dwight.  A friend of mine has elderly parents who had their entire house lifted from the foundation.

tornado 1

What followed the storm was a recognition of loss. What followed that was a recognition of love. Benefits were played, collections were taken, goods were donated. And we all knew that it could have been us. I am not a great fan of things – material possessions – knick-knacks. But families, animals, extablished shelter, the very idea of home is precious. Even the sense that you saved an built and did every thing right to have it all gone in one day…

tornado 3

But the love remains, Defiantly. Steadfastly. Always. Without doubt. Full of promise and hope. So here is a poem for that storm and the people it touched. For all that was taken, for the love that remained.

Tornado

Storms came all at once washing over us and through us
Centrifuge chaos ripping up our roots, cleaving shelter from foundation
It was not the sheer number of things lost or broken,
But the collective life those things became and built
It was pictures, certificates, drywall and brick that held love
Mortar and roofs that housed hope
Table and chair where sat comfort
Couched certainty and tiled solidity
Replaced with grey rubble and loss
And disorientation of whom we even were
And ripped pages of hard-scrabble yet fairy life
Once upon a time when we worked hard and made this living
Cement blocks cracked and dusted with what was our room
Attic pieces from the cobwebbed trunks of our hearts
Because history is all here in pieces…
We will remember the storm for its taking.
We will hold more precious memories made in building
And rebuilding and finding hope and courage
And helping others and
nourishing ourselves
Things will mend and be put in their place
Not a replica or duplicate of the old life
But a sweet, clean white cotton sheet of a new day
All that we thought held hope and love is gone,
But we know now, no house walls, no cage or picket fence
Can truly contain all the hope and love in the world
Because there is always more beyond our imagining
More love than we ever expected or knew existed
More hope to carry us than any cold river or funnel cloud
We wrap ourselves in this fresh, lavender scented life
Sharing body heat against the chill, sleeping sound to rest
For all the work to come, for all
the joy to come,
In readiness for all the love and hope
With your arm safe around me, skin to skin,
I know this to be true

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