Poets and Writers - - Profile - From “Eye­wall” from Florida by Lau­ren Groff. Copy­right © 2018 by Lau­ren Groff. Reprinted with per­mis­sion of River­head Books.

It be­gan with the chick­ens. They were Rhode Is­land Reds and I’d raised them from chicks. Though I called un­til my voice gave out, they’d hud­dled in the dark­ness un­der the house, a dim mass faintly puls­ing. Fine, you un­grate­ful turds! I’d said be­fore aban­don­ing them to the storm. I stood in the kitchen at the one win­dow I’d left un­boarded and watched the hur­ri­cane’s bruise spread­ing in the west. I felt the chick­ens’ fear ris­ing through the floor­boards to pass through me like prayers.

We waited. The weather­man on the tele­vi­sion re­peated the swirl of the hur­ri­cane with his body like a valiant but in­ept mime. All the other crea­tures of the earth flat­tened them­selves, dug in. I stood in my win­dow watch­ing, a cap­tain at the wheel, as the first gust filled the oaks on the far side of the lake and raced across the wa­ter. It shiv­ered my lawn, my gar­den, sent the un­plucked zuc­chini swinging like church bells. And then the wind smacked the house. Bring it on! I shouted. Or, just maybe, this is an­other thing in my ab­surd life that I whis­pered.

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