House of the Ten Plagues
Cedarwood transfigures in the storm.
Every year when nor’easters form, swarming
the coast, bringing rain and wind and sometimes
thunder, the deck out back holds all that’s left
behind: tree limbs, beach grit, stones, and enough
damp seed that birds come, featherslick and fixed
on salvaging their harvest. This fall,
there’s fury. And I recall the quarter-sized
ice coating what’s lost to us now:
the deck of the house on that new country road,
pressed pinewood and Georgia red brick. My parents
led us to the sliding glass doors and we watched
the downpour. Didn’t imagine, then, we’d
stand witness to the end of it all, every
piece lost or repossessed. For all we know,
there’s, more of less, nothing left but memory
and what’s sent: the lightning meant to warn me
that everything we touch can fade away—
notches in the wood where hailstones shatter,
the fallen posts, a burning bush, all remnants—nothing stays.
Remica L. Bingham earned an MFA from Bennington College, is a Cave Canem fellow and a member of the Affrilachian Poets. Her first book, Conversion (Lotus Press, 2006), won the Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award and was published by Lotus Press. Her second book, What We Ask of Flesh, was published by Etruscan Press in February 2013. Currently, she is the Director of Writing and Faculty Development at Old Dominion University. She resides in Norfolk, VA with her husband and children. For more information on her work and upcoming events, please visit: www.remicalbingham.com.