Tuesday, March 7, 2017

March 7: Windy Day, Natasha Trethewey, "Incident"

It's windy out today.  Enough to cause power outages across the entire Upper Peninsula and shut down the Mackinac Bridge.  I'm sitting in my office at the university, three floors up from the ground.  I can hear the wind punishing the roof above me.  It's so loud that I actually thought a couple times the ceiling was going to collapse on me.

I remember windy days from my childhood.  Especially windy winter days.  My family's house used to have a long CB antenna on its roof.  On really stormy days and nights, that antenna would moan in the wind.  A sustained sound, like a fire alarm that was stuck.  Or a train whistle that was always approaching.  That sound meant the possibility of a snow day.

That's a story Saint Marty's family sometimes talks about when they get together.  The moaning antenna.  Natasha Trethewey has a little pantoum about a memory from her childhood.


by:  Natasha Trethewey

We tell the story every year—
how we peered from the windows, shades drawn—
though nothing really happened,
the charred grass now green again.
We peered from the windows, shades drawn,
at the cross trussed like a Christmas tree,
the charred grass still green. Then
we darkened our rooms, lit the hurricane lamps.
At the cross trussed like a Christmas tree,
a few men gathered, white as angels in their gowns.
We darkened our rooms and lit hurricane lamps,
the wicks trembling in their fonts of oil.
It seemed the angels had gathered, white men in their gowns.
When they were done, they left quietly. No one came.
The wicks trembled all night in their fonts of oil;
by morning the flames had all dimmed.
When they were done, the men left quietly. No one came.
Nothing really happened.
By morning all the flames had dimmed.
We tell the story every year.

1 comment:

  1. Powerful pantoum.

    I find Leary strikes a chord today too.