HURRICANE NAME RETIREMENT CENTER
CHRISTINA IMAGINES THAT DIFFERENT TYPES OF ALCOHOL ARE MEN AND
SHE IS SEEING THEM ALL
AT THE HURRICANE NAME RETIREMENT
For Atlantic hurricanes, there is a
change if a storm is so deadly or costly that the future use
of its name on a different storm would be inappropriate for
obvious reasons of sensitivity. If that occurs, then at an
annual meeting … the offending name is stricken from
the list and another name is selected to replace it.
On the breezeway, under the striped awning,
Andrew rocks. Driftwood splinters are tangled in his gray
beard. Next to him, Camille lists, her cataracts dark as wet
slate. The palms rustle—green shivers. Inside, beyond
the screens, sit the Class of ’95, huddled over bridge:
Luis, Marilyn, Roxanne, Opal. Luis wears a hat. Opal flicks
grains of soft white sand from the shell of her ear. She
examines them, then her hand. All are quiet. Earlier, in the
middle of poached eggs, rye toast, weak decaf, men wheeled the
gurney out the back door. There was a sheet, but everyone
recognized the small white fingers: Hazel, ’54. The
aides said It was her time. Carol, now oldest, slumps
at her window. She will not eat. She will not turn a white eye
to Matlock, or the offer of Earl Grey, or the threat of
Thorazine. She looks at the blue water, flat as soda, dashed
with Miami sun. She remembers a different ocean, brackish and
black, swelled with storm. The bitten coastline, the churn of
green lobsters, small cod, shards of yacht—she smiles,
then she dies, quiet as an orange grove.
CHRISTINA IMAGINES THAT DIFFERENT TYPES
OF ALCOHOL ARE MEN AND SHE IS SEEING THEM ALL
Gin was nice enough but had tiny teeth:
of white. Whiskey showed up an hour late,
took me and my one good dress
to a crab shack. We cracked boiled crawfish,
our fingers over the tablecloth, left butter behind.
I hid in the back of the coffee
behind whole beans—and scoped out Rum, then left
without introducing myself. Maybe it’s cruel of me
but I just wasn’t feeling exotic.
and I had fun, but it was all cigarettes
and ex-wives. Tequila was ever the gentleman,
and smooth as caramel. Bought all my rounds
and when I came back from the bathroom he,
my wallet, my car: all gone. The bartender
sorry. My mother set me up with Brandy
and I should have known that he’d be
to own small dogs. I don’t like poodles.
I saw Gin again last night; both of us out
with other people. His: a redhead. I waved
and when he smiled, all sharp points
and blooded gums, well, that was when I fell in love.
January 24, 2013
As part of the Burning Swamp Reading Series, Statesboro, Georgia.
October 18, 2012
With Ben Drevlow at WVU Parkersburg, Parkersburg, West Virginia.
April 5, 2012
As part of the SUNY Fredonia Visiting Writers' Series, Fredonia, New York.
As part of the Resident Reading,
Vermont Studio Center, Johnson,
part of the GVSU Visitors Reading in Allendale,
Live on The
Blood-Jet Writing Hour.
at the Spire Press table at the 2011 AWP Conference in Washington,
November 8, 2010
With poet/nonfiction writer Richard Terrill as part of Cherry Bomb Reading Series.
October 14, 2010
With poet/ nonfiction writer Matthew Gavin Frank at Schuler's Books, downtown Grand Rapids.
Marh 25, 2010
As part of the GVSU Faculty Reading in Allendale, Michigan.
January 23, 2010
As part of the Spire Press New Author Reading at KGB Bar in New York City.
November 19, 2009
As part of Minnesota State University, Mankato's Good Thunder Reading Series.