The Dubose and Dorothy Heyward Society Prize
Helen C. Brandenburg
After the Storm
When everything and everybody stopped dead
just before the good-ole-boys found their gas cans,
cranked 10,000 generators west of the river
and pulled their chainsaw cords,
when in the lull, I thought, "This is good, real good,"
it’s not as though I wished the coronary
on the old man down the street
or the widow woman’s tin roof
popped and rolled like a sardine can,
or memories of loved ones turned to mildew pulp,
heirlooms warped, floors buckled, inlays peeled.
You know, my own mother knelt down
in salt water and pluff mud to save her stuff.
But, damn it, I was feeling good—
solitude and sterno, sticks and a broom—
good and simple, like playing house again.