Pre-Hurricane

The streets roll out before me
entirely empty but grating scratches
leaves on cement, leather boot thumps.
The dim glow of my smartphone
washes my face with laboratory optimism
as I check the time, late but
the sky is washed out — far too light–
and I swear I hear a timpani
echoing over the East River
war cry warning
(or maybe just the subway).

Later, when we’re inside
lying, pretending to sleep so
neither of us will speak or move
the wind draws up from
gut bellow to frenetic divorcee
swaying the high-rise so gravity
shifts on diagonals–
when I can feel the storm inside of me,
bitter premonition
and I ball your sheets into my fists.
You think I’m scared.
You rest your simplistic chin on my shoulder
hot, sweaty exhales (in your mind, I think,
intended to be sultry) but I grew up
with this wind. It grew with me
into the raging banshee tribal concerto
riling my goosebumps now
ready to see destruction now
secretly delighted in the face of this fight.

Emma Smith, Age 18, Grade 12, Hunter College High School, Silver Key

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