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April 2019 Vol. 15 No. 1

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Ronnie Sirmans


I was sleeping, an unfamiliar tropical breeze blowing through the window at the resort. My cellphone ringing, darkness outside and inside. “Tornado” was the word that woke me up, my younger sister telling me on the phone what had struck the trailer park where my mother and middle sister lived thousands and thousands of miles away from this island where I was resting. They still considered a cellphone a splurge – their landline apparently dead. The adverb and adjective hung heavy, like the mangoes on the trees on the grounds at the Hawaiian resort. Like the peaches on the tree in Ma’s backyard, fruit likely splattered on the ground or flung miles away. Suddenly, I wanted to taste those trailer park peaches again. The sun was rising as I started making calls to hospitals, relatives, even to coroners back in that rural place. There, the sun was already up. Here, the blooming birds of paradise waited to be seen.

crashing waves
from a distance
hushed as prayers