Every Ill Wind Whispers of Another Feast

Hurricane Rita

Hurricane Rita, 2005. NASA photo.

Rain scribbles warnings on windows like fliers dropped before bombings
and in Louisiana they know to gather spices and hide
from the hurricane, to follow tradition,
to cook, to eat hearty while they wait and hope.
On this storm’s menu: Fancy Frogmore Stew
chunky with butterfly shrimp, smoked sausages, and new potatoes
with cornbread to sop up the pot liquor and rum rice pudding for dessert
savored by flashlight. Tabasco sauce sparks with lightning,
water trickles across the floor, and somewhere above, winds rip off shingles.
Later people sort through the wreckage and greet their neighbors:
“What did y’all eat?”

Published in Dark Regions and Horror: A Journal of Fantasy, Horror & Science Fiction Literature. Issue 2, 1999.
Copyright © 1999 by Sue Burke