What’s Left of Us Is Shaken

We know the drill: Plywood cut to sills
to cover glass, bolted, battened down

to face the worst winds of a decade,
supercells spun inland from the sea.

Each hurricane worse than the last—
all housing temporary, piles

of hurled debris, browned brush,
decapitated palms a permanent part of the landscape

planted by an association of deniers
whose heads may be buried

in the eroding dunes. What’s left of them,
of us, is shaken, wonders if rebuilding was a mistake.

A few in the complex were blown out,
though most losses were superficial:

pool fencing bent or broken,
mild water intrusion through soffit vents,

a few slate roof tiles askew.
We’ll come back, our guard said,

could have been worse, we lived to tell the story—
and handed us our keys.

Some of those blacked-out for days
made do with candlelight. Others discovered

how much brighter the stars appeared
in the darker nights.

Sarah Carey is a graduate of the Florida State University creative writing program. Her work has appeared in numerous literary journals, including Superstition Review, Valparaiso Review, Barrow Street, Potomac Review, Glass Poetry Journal, Carolina Quarterly, and elsewhere. She was the recipient of an International Merit Award in the Atlanta Review's 2018 International Poetry Prize competition and a finalist in Sequestrum Literary Journal's 2018 New Writer Award competition. Sarah is the author of two chapbooks, including Accommodations, winner of the 2018 Concrete Wolf Chapbook Award, and The Heart Contracts (Finishing Line Press, 2016). She lives in Gainesville, Florida, with her husband and her precocious black Lab, Finn.