Hurricane Family

               When hurricanes come my daddy prepares
                            by rooting soles into the floors of our house,
               rooted into the wetland his daddy poured Lord Calvert’s into.

                            No longer a buckra’s sharecropper,
Grandma Lizzie and Granddaddy Silas rooted
               a bottle tree of twelve
                            inconceivable indigo children.

                            My daddy repeats to my ma,
                We’ll be fine,
                            and I believe.

                                          When the hurricanes came, it moved me
                            more than I wanted. I hooked my innocence inside.
                                          Wild water became swords. My sisters and I played in
swooning pine. Dark, slick, splash, and I was terrified—

                my thoughts of trees falling on top of mobile homes,
people waking with blue Earth inside their rooms,
                worlds swept up for miles out all around,

                            and in our front yard—I was afraid
                                        while we ran, we danced, and we leaped.


Marlanda Dekine’s forthcoming collection, Thresh & Hold (Hub City Press, 2022), won the New Southern Voices Poetry Prize, selected by Gabrielle Calvocoressi. Dekine is the creator of the self-published book & mixtape, i am from a punch & a kiss. Their poems have been published or are forthcoming in POETRY, Emergence Magazine, Oxford American, Southern Humanities Review, and elsewhere. Dekine is a Tin House Scholar, a Palm Beach Poetry Festival Langston Hughes Fellow, and a Fellow at The Watering Hole. Their work is obsessed with ancestry, memory, and the process of staying within one’s own body, leaving spells and incantations for others to follow for themselves. They live in South Carolina with their wise dog, Malachi.