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The Aftermath

I sit on the point of our porch with rain ticking around me. The pressure washer was scheduled to clean the house today, and I wonder if the rain will do his work for him. Like the lot next door where we removed the foundation from a Katrina house and planned on seeding St. Augustine until the wild grass began to creep, and we let nature fill in.

I look out on this grey morning through screens bunched by Zeta. The storm opened the trunk of the pine tree across the road like a waiter splitting a cheap wine cork. Chainsaws chew the air…in the rain. Is that safe? I trust the Mississippi boys to know what they’re doing. Until they don’t.

We built a house on land Katrina wiped clean. Assumed the risk, kind of. Until seven storms in one season took a bead on our section of the coast. An eighth named after the magnificent Eta James now hovers like an aneurysm in the Gulf.

Three years ago, I shoveled a truckload of top soil and fertilizer onto the spot where the neighbor’s driveway used to be, only to have the guy from the extension service tell me, if you can see the water, you will sooner or later lose everything in your yard. The slate gulf peeps at me thorough the live oak branches, our view to the water enhanced by the storm popping limbs, thinning girth. Does that mean my chances of flooding have increased? I know it doesn’t, but his marker was what I can see. I can’t see the future.

The storms haven’t inundated us, yet. I pile debris where the curb would be if we had curbs. Every branch with its bouffant head of leaves is covered in lichen from oaks five lots down. But last night a friend came over, and we sat in our folding chairs beneath the live oak and drank wine and kept our pups from strangling each other and let the day fall around us. The birds call into the morning. Something white and narrow and indiscernible—an Unidentified Flying Object—straddles the top of a pine, the neighbor’s siding maybe. I wait for the swamp rabbits to return.

Our live oak, I say with misplaced presumption

Hurricane Zeta, Mississippi Gulf Coast, The aftermath

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