Mary and the Hurricane
Andrea England

The wave and depression of Phoenix in August, coyotes dropping illegals over the border like mice into snake-tanks. Your journey began offshore, the doctor reaching into me and withdrawing with what fire held you fast. In the beginning I craved oranges, your father growing faster than me, disappointed I didn't crave meat. In Beijing, teenage girls waited in line to have their pictures taken with him, his blond afro foreign as a pregnant woman sitting on a camel. When you came, she had already begun. The Idiot's Guide to Fatherhood lay untouched on the bedside table. Pleats of silence in the sheets, as the outer eyewall choked the inner, contracting, then your bleat. It was the first time I'd seen your father cry. His book untouched, he thought your head permanently coned. The nurses laughed in Spanish. I was ashamed I could not understand them except for their hands. Your first days were spent in a house facing north, dark skies, late monsoon. Your first lullaby, the distant hurricane flooding our rock yard. We watched the levees break for days as if you were sisters.

Andrea England holds a Ph.D in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, where she teaches English and tutors athletes. Her first chapbook, INVENTORY OF A FIELD was recently published by FInishing Line Press. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Passages North, Harpur Palate, Zone 3, The Atticus Review, and others. She lives in Kalamazoo with her husband, three daughters, five hens, and a dog.

more by Andrea England:
Waiting at Porter Station