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an estranged sister watches a movie in a cemetery as her sister shelters from a hurricane

Palm trees stand at attention against
the haze-filtered sky perfectly blackened in purple.  

On a screen I hold in the palm of my hands, I watch the palms
in my sister’s city bow humbly to Irma’s force.

I nurse a glass of wine as she savors the last of melting coffee ice cream.  
I, between two stone-cold mausoleums in Hollywood Forever.  
My sister hidden from the boarded windows in her hall.

I become entranced with Irma’s power, track her rainbow swirling body,
a saw blade poised to mow through our state of pain. 

I want everyone to evacuate. 

I want to be the one to stay, to hear her howling
winds and learn the edges of what a body might endure. 

My tragedies are all of fire: 
            the Tower in my tarot deck split and burning,
                        bodies hurled and hurling from glass offices,
                                    mountains aflame,
                                                mushrooming plumes of smoke teach lungs

the lingering stench of burnt flesh or flora. 

I learned to sleep in the desert’s devil winds, but how will her body evade the rising waters?

I dare you to look me in the eye, Irma taunts.
I look into the clear blue of her pupil barely visible through all the rage and see my love
            for my sister as a storm surge
                        pressure on a cooled surface inhales the ocean
                                                then                        all we thought lost
                                                    spills into a place and time unexpected
            the relief of her voice, after.

So much destroyed and altered.

                                            Fallen fronds threaten to puncture tires,
                                                                                        but most still sway in the breeze.

We can deny it all we want, but we remain.  

Lisa Eve Cheby (she/her), a librarian, poet, and daughter of immigrants, holds an MFA from Antioch and an MLIS from SJSU. Her poems and reviews have appeared in various journals and anthologies, including Drawn to Marvel, Coiled Serpent, and Accolades. She was a SAFTA Writer in Residence and an artist in residence at Dorland Mountain Arts. Her chapbook, Love Lessons from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Dancing Girl Press) was featured in The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed Series. Her second chapbook, Buffy Averts a Mid-Life Apocalypse, will be released by Dancing Girl Press in Fall 2021. Twitter: @LisaCheby

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