By Shayla Lawson

From Fall 2017

 Just like the hurricane, Lonny understands
 destruction. The force a body swallows to remember itself 

 mortal (remember, you too are smoke). A woman loots 
 across the Louisiana heat & unbuttons right 

 in front of him—from lawn sprinkler to downpour. She takes
 her index finger along her navel, slides her hands,

 still soaking, across your lips. “Katrina” 
 he utters as her wreckage bows the floorboards of his college 

 years, drenches his sneakers in silt. Perhaps this is the first
 way Frank knew a woman. She teaches him
 ruin is a thing men work for & her fervor only proves her 
 penitent. But he know better, you can’t be tryin’ to keep a grown woman 

 sober. Her dirt-drunk, percussive howls as she stumbles to undress 
 him. “You ain’t been touched

 in a while,” she claims. And when a woman blows down your front door
 you can’t do nothing but acquiesce 

 to her. She’s the dealer & the stoner of her own 
 anatomical bonds. The rage of her waters this song in falsetto. It’s Louisiana 

 & the ocean is still / a babe, who has not taken on the tidal—a litany 
 of deluge, four hundred thousand

 heartbreaks. One Frank. All carried / away like the deluge 
 he will become. But Katrina: what she don’t drain, 

 she baptizes in the stench of burnt grass that follows all young 
 men in one way or the other. The best of Frank—not-spared—blares

 into the Mississippi, blue ink to paper pulp. She took me high 
 (& dry), he sings, Then she took me home—& by that

 perhaps he means Los Angeles—how Lonny gets 
 on in the levee’s descent. Katrina rescinds & he becomes 

 The Ocean. Perhaps why he channels orange—the absence of being 
 Blue. The sky above a coda; high as the gulf.