The List of Retired Hurricane Names

At some point 
you have to decide: 
will you let folks 
use your river 
like a road?

Soon, the map of you 
looks like a sweet loaf 
cut up with a dull knife!

The levees of your body will tire 
and you’ll destroy 
the one protecting Sleep
to save the one about to breach
at Memory.

On Charbonnet Street,
all of the women
can tell the story of the water 
and of the house;
of floating to the ceiling,
housedresses ballooning up to their ears
like jellyfish.

From the rooftops,
they called out
to swarms of swallows
tossed against the sky
like a plate of beans.

I climbed your levee
and drivers honked as they passed.
Toaster oven,
curtain rod,
and a dead calf
on your banks.

According to the registry,
you’re no longer free.
If you ran away,
they could arrest you
for stealing yourself.

Published in Tule Review 2017