Category five

By Ryan Gulledge

Myrtle Beach, SC
Hurricane Hugo, 1989

This morning, we put to rest
our stillborn ships,
forecastles high with ivory,
juniper hulls moaning

against the sloshing tide.
Its sluggish thrum
trickled green, pulsing up
the beach like veins.

This morning, the gulls resumed
their dives for herring.
Great orange beaks
swooping through pewter

Now and then the sun
offers a brief wink
through the overcast.

This morning, the boats
returned from migration,
loosely arranged
in the harbors

like returned coffins
without matching names.
We pull black tuxedos
from boardshorts.

This morning, the boulevard
was a ballad limping along
a twelve string days out of hock,
scaling pentatonic

up & down palmettoes.
Arpeggio sawgrass.
Ephemeral chords.
The blues are still blue.