"Black Sky"  Copyright 2000 Elaine Thomas

Naming the Hurricane

In June, she'll give birth to a hurricane.
His fault for winding silken scarves around her waist, pulling her to him.
Her fault for looking at him with Atlantic eyes. They'll name her 100 names
before she's born. In June, this birth of the hurricane.

Name her Jackson for the street where he first made her laugh.
Name her Bella for the way he spoke Italian to her when they made love.
Name her Oakland. Name her Cambridge.
Name her wilderness.

The child's toes web together, skin the pallor of its mother's seaspun eyes.
In the brackish brine of new birth, the family vines together, an undulating
creature that swims collecting speed, seaweed.

In June, she'll give birth to a hurricane.
His fault for spinning the sky above her head.
Her fault for praying to the Gods of Chance.
He dreams that the birth takes place in water, in the sea, that she will swim
before crying, that the first taste in her mouth will be iced salt water instead of milk.

And the child is off in a swirl, the water around her collecting in a tunnel, the sky
giving birth to this new storm. They will call her lost, forgotten, cloud.

Julia Alter  copyright 2001

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