In storms we braced
for the whole world to be turned upside down,
and mosttimes, nothing would happen
except for the winds
that would whip by, bend a few branches.
And we thought nothing of it,
because really everything had stayed the same.
But then, there would come
this once, when it seemed that the sky itself
had it in for us, when we had to leave
it all behind, for the torrents
to swallow it all up — no — smash it all,
break up everything we had and leave it there.
There was no reason we could think of
why why why why why why
why the forces would converge on us,
just like they had, why
the whole of our living remained only
in the soft and fragile folds of our memories:
the hard evidence had met something harder.
And mom would pray, and ask
all of us to thank God for our lives,
that we had what was most important of all.
And I didn’t understand her then,
because we had had them, too,
along with everything else, before the storms
had torn down all structure.
But I look back now,
and remember the face of this one boy
that I saw on the news, whose mother was gone,
the bewildered, blank stare,
and I wonder how many heaps of everything
he would have traded to be me.