What the Storm Brought

The sky is scrubbed clean and blue today, and I’m at my favorite coffee shop writing (also drinking their coffee and using their electricity, both of which are hard to come by at my house… thanks, Koffee Kat!).  Other than the power outage and a few downed trees, my neighborhood was mostly spared by Hurricane Irene, but my heart is breaking for friends in Southern VT, where historic covered bridges were washed away and whole villages are flooded or isolated by washed-out roads. Here’s hoping for brighter skies and rebuilding…


What the Storm Brought

Kate Messner © 2011


We watched Irene creep up the coast,

And so we knew

She was coming to steal things away.

Sunshine and almost-ripe tomatoes,

Open windows, electricity, and peace of mind.


She sucked at our riverbanks

Lapping greedy gulps of mud,

Gobbling asphalt like candy

Until the spans above the water

Gave way.

She swallowed them whole.

Except the old covered bridges

Weathered timbers aged like fine cheese.

These delicacies

She carried along on her waves

And savored them, splinter by rail.


But the storm brought something too

Something more than water in the basement,

Confetti showers of flying leaves,

And bouquets of pine needles

Arranged in the window screens.


She brought a neighbor to the door

“Just to make sure everything’s okay.”

And did I need him to clean out the gutters?

He was wearing one of those mesh water shoes;

The other foot was bare.

But he was smiling.

Ready to climb ladders in the wind

That way if we needed him.


She brought a chill to the sun room,

And that brought the girl,

Still in pajamas,

With a blanket and her book

And mine,

to my side.


And just before she left for the night,

She brought a chess game by candlelight-

The boy won in a dozen moves,

And then built a toaster.

“Here,” he said. “Try it out.”

Battery-operated, it warmed our bread

On a delicate net of nichrome wires

Until it was lightly browned

With only a slight metallic aftertaste.


We laughed.

And nothing I’ve eaten in the dark

With waves pounding the beach

And wind raging in the trees

Has ever tasted so fine.


(Those lines above were for my poet friends. Here, now, for the engineers, is the toaster. It actually works pretty well.)

1 Reply on “What the Storm Brought

  1. So beautiful………the poem……and the toaster, because I can picture “the boy” building the toaster, and all of you eating the warm bread and laughing and making the best of it all.