Tropical Storm Frank

by Jeffrey Tucker

Because I drove to the beach during Frank,
ignored the shredded red flag and nailed myself
into a wave, the plumb and drag of current in my nose,

the horizon gone, an ash-blotted sky against slate breakers,
against my flailing arms held high. The brine in my
vein-mapped eyes, or the foam: an awe—

because the 405 Freeway still winds like a noose
through former fields: strawberry, orange, gourd, and
more hangs with each return; because,

at eight, my sister’s friend fell in the backyard.
I pulled our fleabag dog off her, and ten years later
she drove off an overpass, but it was an open-casket funeral
anyway. What was the question?

But, still, the storm: because, when the waves plied the sand
and body surfers crashed right and left,
all I saw was spray—I called it many things, none ugly.

Jeffrey Tucker studies creative writing at The University of Southern Mississippi, where he also teaches. His work has previously appeared in Saw Palm, Swarthmore Literary Review, Inscape, and elsewhere. He is also the coeditor of Squid Quarterly, a journal devoted to prose poetry and short-short fiction.

Back to Issue Nine: Fall 2010