After Hurricane Fran
It’s no surprise we fear the fall.
We learn it from the trees.
Their mighty hearts are pumping fear, and
sleeping we can hear it.
This is the danger time.
Down by the rising creek
they grip the sodden clay
with frantic fingers, and
pray for no more rain.
They know this whirling ball
is mostly water
and they are only in the way.
Up on the hill they’re never still.
Their hair is always moving.
They toss in endless terror of the wind.
Fran killed them by the dozen
and the floor is
littered with their corpses, pitted
with their graves.
There are trees older than our mothers
and just as scared of death.
If they survive the murder season
there will be such a dance.
On Hallow’s Eve they’ll strip and whirl
as naked as a coven.
Finally in November,
tired and grateful, they lean toward sleep
their fingers crossed for luck,
for one more century.
Linda Frye Burnham, Saxapahaw, North Carolina, 2000