Laura Sobbott Ross

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Hurricane in the Yucatan


August 2007


What more could the wind have taken—

they had so little; as if sheaths

of corrugated tin could hold back

oceans—coquina floors crackling,

mamoncillos and oranges midair


like wild, pygmy moons.

In the morning dark-eyed children

find starfish where the shrines of saints

had been. Family gardens ravaged,

except for yucca, and onions


clinging in slippery petals of skin.

Rice pots emptied of everything but rain.

There had been no electricity to begin with;

they wouldn’t miss it now.


The blanched buildings of the village,

pink against the horizon. Dawn

already in puddles

silvered as shards of mirror.

Down the road at the bakery,


confections were being given away

before they melted

or mold set in. Buttercream

intricacies with bright scalloped rims

carried between neighbors’ hands


and the uncertainty

of daylight— piped rosettes

still jewelling the placid walls

of sugar paste— every surface

whole, pearled and gleaming.

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