Hurricane Weather

by Brenda Levy Tate
PenShells
Second Place, November 2011
Judged by Nathalie Handal


The first time my father caught me
a trout, blood-mucus slick
where its mouth was hooktorn,
he laid it scarred and scared
across my palm. I saw myself fade
out of its eyes.

Fathers disappear after awhile.
I watch mist creep ashore; listen
to the sedges weep. On this day,
a child can pull fish from brooks of air.
Hang them on an evergreen to unspeckle
and dry among needle-drops.

The rain wears warm gloves.
Ribs rise to a darker current beneath.
Breath swirls around them – river
through reeds.

Clouds run down skin, dress me
with this latest storm. It has another name
but I call it Thomas – after my father.
Thomas, for all my doubting.

I was the last thing seen by an innocent –
the reply to a question dying in my hand.
But I am no one’s answer now.


“Fathers disappear after awhile,” is a line full of wound. It stands alone yet envelops the poem. Keeps it from falling like the reply dying in the hand and the question persisting. This poem insists on taking us to where the rain wears gloves, where clouds run down skin and an answer is no longer an answer. --Nathalie Handal

  • March 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      Cuttlefish
      by Jim Doss
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Second Place

      Wings
      by Bernard Henrie
      The Writer's Block

      Third Place

      gutterball
      by Brenda Morisse
      Wild Poetry Forum

  • February 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      Nebraska, Summer
      by Greta Bolger
      The Waters

      Second Place

      Goldback Fern
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Writer's Block

      Third Place

      Negotiatin’ Wi Demons (For wee Rabbie Burns)
      by John J. Williamson
      PenShells