In hurricane season the old trees
suffer. Especially the ones
standing alone. Their roots no
match for a summer wind
churning at sea, inhaling slights
and salt air, then rushing

to shore flicking buses and restaurants
aside, erasing the past. One hard gust
and they’re gone. In groups
live oaks can survive, even at 130 m.p.h.
So will buttonwood, otherwise known as
the American sycamore, which will grow huge

with deep soil and a few neighbors.
But these days to be sturdy is to bend.
So the dogwood and jelly palm,
the pygmy date and crape myrtle,
hardy limestone shrubs, boxleaf stopper,
they don’t ask for much

are happy to guard a house, form a
windbreak, while one newscaster after another
exits a blacked-out SUV in their slickers
to stand in driving rain to prove
their heroism as they give us more time,
more time.

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