To prepare for a storm
is to build a longer table and invite the neighbors.
Make your favorite meals, fill up the glasses with wine
and watch it overflow. Capture a child’s face light up in
a quiet explosion while playing on a swing.
Remember their laughter, the innocence of the moment.
To prepare for a storm is to celebrate the calm.
To walk inside a room knowing you’re sheltered,
counting every wall a blessing.
When a howling wind breaks into your home,
you’re naked, or just waking up or lifting up
your child from their crib
You say a prayer, a cry for help
It’s fast, inaudible, a thread of trembling words.
It is surrender at the start of a war you haven’t
fought but know how it ends.
When the ground begins to shake and
things start falling off the walls,
you scream names in an empty house.
Fear will do anything to bite loneliness in the neck.
You’re running around your own home and
suddenly it’s a maze you’ve never seen before.
If only you could get out of the door and into-
the mouth of the wind?
What is a refuge if not anywhere but where you stand?
You run from fire and walk into a door of flames.
No one thinks they’ll burn to death if only they keep going.
There must be water on the other side.
Buildings are already collapsing.
There’s not one house standing.
The trees, they seem to suck themselves
out of the earth
A hurricane feels like drawing stillness into a room
that prefers to dance. The music goes on forever.
You hear a cry and look around-
It’s your baby. Clutched so tightly in your arms it
is almost a part of you, not separated but one with your body.
A mother will do anything for their children.
You don’t see when the pole starts to fall
from behind you
You’re running towards nothing.
Dead bodies line the street.
On this day, fear is a language we all speak.
Your eyes wide open- searching.
It hits you hard, the back of your head
splitting in half.
Your whole body trapped in death,
Eyes wide open- a new shock forming.
Blood trickles down your broken neck
and a last image flashes before your eyes-
the breaking of bread in the church.
They pass it round the table and you don’t take.
Your hands are already too full.
Tryphena Yeboah is a Ghanaian writer with a background in Journalism. She is currently an MFA candidate at Chapman University, studying Creative Writing.