DINA GREENBERG

 

AFTER FLORENCE, ROOF-TOP STIGMATA

i.

Blue tarps are our tell tale 

roof-top stigmata 

some with 

some without

relief    belief    blessings

after Florence

tribes emerge

survivors          first responders 

haves    have-nots

evacuees exiled       still 

the city              an island

entombed in darkness

while the heavens pour

unrelenting

for days

brackish water laps and lashes  

fetid     dark 

bloating rivers  and creeks     streets

ruthless trespass

            eddies 

through houses and churches and barns

water    water    

seeps and sifts               remains 

of chickens      pigs      

family photos   

kindergarten plaster-of-Paris

treasures 

and those

too poor to leave 

stay

supplicants    weary  defeated   hopeful         

faithful 

die-hards

those with means

those without

hunkered down inside

sodden drywall and timbers

shamed          defiant               fearful  

penitent

factions 

separated by  grace

by income  

by race

believers and sinners  

battered or spared

by wind sheer

high tides        and storm surge            

random or divine

rooftops

lives   livelihoods 

unmoored 

or       Saved 

spared

or crushed

beneath the weight 

of thick ancient oaks

on dirt roads

tin-can trailers

tossed into ditches and fields

their occupants

forgotten          

forsaken        still

and again

 

ii.

weeks later

mold spreads feathery dark fingers

inside closets and cupboards

creeps beneath floorboards

while fans roar and roar 

their demon mouths agape 

in the city

flotsam          lurks at curbside

sodden mattresses   sofas   carpets             

shards of window glass

strips of aluminum    coiled like serpents

clapboard blackened and    rotting

laden soiled

but in the next zip code

private haulers whisk away 

neatly bundled branches

from quiet cul-de-sacs

on HOA trash days

Mexican gardeners arrive 

by the truckload

cleansed-again swimming pools 

shimmer aqua-blue      

and 

in high school gymnasiums

the poorest still sleep head-to-head

on FEMA cots              kneel 

in prayer 

sweat  shiver

under tin-foil blankets they subsist on MREs 

bottled water

donated canned goods while                  of course

good works abound 

they rush and swell like cresting rivers

southbound

good souls minister

to those less fortunate 

they bail         and bail         and bail

buckets of tears

buckets of sorrow older than Noah’s 

            always always

they cast their eyes to God 

to the blue-tarped heavens

they pray       and pray        and pray

until the next one comes

 

Dina Greenberg’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Pembroke Magazine, Wilderness House Literary Review, Foliate Oak, Bellevue Literary Review, and Tahoma Literary Review, among others. The opening chapters of Nermina’s Chance, her novel-in-progress, were recently featured in Embark. Dina earned an MFA in fiction from the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where she served as managing editor for the literary journal Chautauqua. She teaches creative writing at the Cameron Art Museum. Though her work often prods darker elements of human emotion, she remains primarily hopeful.

<
>