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Our Spirit Will Not Be Broken: Voices from the April StormsOur Spirit Will Not Be Broken: Voices from the April Storms

by Melanie Jeffcoat

For Patrick, Marika, Nadia and Maia

Red lamp stands alone
Carton of melted ice cream
On a kitchen table
Snack interrupted
Wedding ring
Light yet love-weighted
Delicately balances on the dresser
Room now surrounded
By sky
Sweet pink bedroom
Lace curtains on a nearby branch
Faces peeled from homes
Leaving eerie dollhouse facades

Closet stands alone
Slab foundation
Door open
Shirts hanging
Someone cowered in that tiny space
Did they survive

Daylight brings chainsaws
Buzz and hum blend in a 
Persistent melodious reminder
People torn from people
Life ripped from earth

Street signs gone
Flown to another city
Tree stumps awkwardly wrapped with
Tangled bent aluminum bows in the
Monochromatic landscape
Green is gone
Majestic cluster of aged trees
Once conversed on the evening breeze
Jagged sticks now poke from dirt

Broken limb
Beheaded tree
Soggy red teddy bear
Waiting to be retrieved
A child so loved that bear

Boots crunch on shingles
Red crushed stone
Brick house should be safe
American flags draped on debris
Fluorescent paint marks a residence
Distorted past recognition
Massive roots tower above

Roofless cottage
I imagine laughter
Meals shared
Almost hear it
Warms my face with shame
I peek into shadows
Listening to stranger's stories

80 year old in wheelchair
Mama didn't make it to the shelter
Dog surviving in tub
Bathroom blown away
How can cars disappear

One white house
Fresh roses blooming
Gentleman sits on stoop
Wrinkled brown skin furrowed
Contemplating his incredible fortune
And colossal sadness
Alone now
A single house
On a street erased
Weight crushes him

Comprehension impossible

April 27 2011
Quiet achingly normal channel of towns

Lead feet trod forward
Past first responders
National Guard
Heavily armed
Preventing soul-less human vultures
Picking through remains

Survivors feel Blessed
Word falls easily out of mouth
Catches in throat
What about the lost
Less blessed
Can't imagine God wanted to meet
Under these circumstances

A break from saws
Distant chirp
Echoes in solitude
Joined by chorus
Delicate creatures lost homes too
They had babies
Yet they sing

My eyes are drawn from debris
Met with faces of joy
Tangible Aliveness
Sweetens my tears
Dawn of Hope
With deep breath
Accepting the promise
Birds sing in Alabama again
Starting with this simple song
In Pleasant Grove