As a child growing up in West Texas, tornadoes were a way of life. In light of those in Oklahoma, I want to share a poem that came into my inbox this week before the tornado hit via American Life in Poetry which is made possible by The Poetry Foundation publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
The poem below is by Laura Dimmit who is from Joplin, Missouri, and her family survived the fierce tornado of May, 2011. The entire area was strewn with debris, and here’s a poem about just one little piece that fell from the sky.
School photo, found after the Joplin tornado
“Joey, 4th grade, 1992”
He’s been on the fridge since it happened,
sneaking glances from underneath the cat
magnet at our dinners, coffee habits, arguments.
We posted him on the database of items found,
hoping that someone would recognize his messy
hair, Batman t-shirt, blue eyes, but no one
answered the post or claimed him.
Somewhere a childhood photo album is not
quite complete, or a grandmother’s mantelpiece;
an uncle’s wallet. One afternoon I got restless,
flipped through my old yearbooks, trying to find him,
looking to see how he might have aged: did he lose
the chubby cheeks? dye his hair? how long
did he have to wear braces? But he’s too young
to have passed me in the halls, the picture just
a stranger, a small reminder of the whirling aftermath
when Joplin was clutching at scraps: everything displaced,
even this poor kid who doesn’t even know he’s lost.
Also I have to thank Kristen Dyrr for yet another Liebster Award. I think it may be our 5th which is good but I guess we need to squeak our number of followers to over 200 :) So I, Regina, will answer the questions this time.
1. What is your favorite video game (if any)? This can include mobile games and Facebook games. Scrabble, on my phone it's Words with Friends
2. Do you like to sleep on a very soft surface, or a harder surface? I like it on the softer side.
3. What is the most unusual food you have tried? Every spring I eat fiddleheads, the tops of Ostrich ferns that have yet to unfurl.
4. What is your favorite odd food or meal (if you have one)?I love mung bean pancakes with wood-ear mushrooms on top.
5. What is the first sense you turn to when describing something in your writing (taste, smell, touch, sight, etc)? Almost always taste and smell, I am a classically trained chef.
6. What is one of the cutest things you have ever seen in your life?My kids
7. What is the ugliest thing you have ever seen or experienced (this can have to do with feelings, or inner ugliness, etc)? Yikes, it's so bad I won't share it.
8. Do you prefer typing or writing with a pen or pencil and paper?Writing with a black pen in my notebook
9. What is your favorite thing to drink? Any juice that I make in the juicer and Chai.
10. Do you prefer road trips, airline travel, train travel, or other (when going long distances)? Road trips for sure. It's much better for birdwatching.
11. What is your favorite way to watch TV, movies, and videos? For example, do you watch everything on your computer or sling it to a big TV? Do you use a Tivo, a DVR, or Netflix? What is your set-up? I am a comfy couch watcher when I do which isn't very often.