Hurricane, 3rd Day

by Melissa Studdard

We hid in the belly of porcelain. The world 
sang sirens overlapping, the sound of wind

taking gates from the hinge. That whistling, yes.
Whistling and whipping, the world the cry 

of a cow caught in the spin of a twister and lifted. 
Water creeping to the back door like a thief. 

It wanted the jewels of our eyes.

In the house next door, a woman breastfed 
another woman’s baby, the thin-sweet milk.

Across the street, a man wrote social security numbers
on his kids’ arms with a Sharpie—a game, he said. 

And in our tub we held the news in our palms:

forty dogs from a kennel rescued by boat, a guy
on paddleboard heaving toddlers from a window, one

by one. And trapped across town, a shop full
of bakers sleeping on flour sacks, baking all day—

they slept and baked, slept and sprinkled.
For whoever might need. Not even sampling

or licking a finger. Once, I thought humankind 
brutal and nature benign—foolish child

with my frog in a box, my holey lid. 
Once, before, I asked to be delivered.

O sugar-hungry God, the world 
has been dredged and is waiting.

__________________

Melissa Studdard is the author of the poetry collection I Ate the Cosmos for Breakfast. Her writings have appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Harvard Review, Psychology Today, Bettering American Poetry, Poets & Writers, and more. In addition to writing, she serves as executive producer and host of VIDA Voices & Views for VIDA: Women in Literary Arts and president of the Women’s Caucus for AWP. To learn more, visit www.melissastuddard.com.

Illustration/Sculpture by Courtney Bennett

6 thoughts on “Hurricane, 3rd Day

  1. Melissa managed to gather humanity within its porcelain soul with such sculpted specificity and surprise. My utter joy at the leap of bakers on their flour sacks baking into the long night. I absolutely love this poem. It took my breath way.

    Like

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