After the Storm
They lifted their hands out of the muck
into which they had slipped, and carried
their belongings, smeared, into the house.
While they worked their hands would be black,
they knew. They worked as men by day on a job,
with system and regularity. Their homes,
hollowed by storm, had held lights.
Music was heard from instruments
in their grasp, and in the silence
voices had crisscrossed for comfort,
In this interval of mud, arranging peace,
they saw no need to lament their hands,
or to be awed by them.
Look at that woman,
unable to get away,
makes a shade of her bed linen
over the fire escape.
Beneath it the children
in open air play toys.
The side bars are for the linen
to hang on, the grilled floor for pillows
the children sit on.
Indoors in a buxom slip
she walks around, busy
picking up things and putting them down.