Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Ishion Hutchinson

AFTER THE HURRICANE

NA DE ORKAAN

Na de orkaan loopt er een stilte, krankzinnig, wit als de witte helmen
van overheidsinspecteurs die keten zonder dak

controleren, verdoofde kippen naderen, informatie noteren
over de logica van veren, achterstevoren, als nog kokhalzende goten; ze krabbelen feiten op

over gevallen ceders, uitgespreid als dode generaals op blader-
medaillons; ze stellen tabellen op om te laten zien dat de kust

haar idee van schoonheid herschikte voor de villa’s
in het park, wonderlijk genoeg onberoerd gebleven toen de orkaan –

we noemen hem Cycloop – door de levens
van kinderen en varkens raasde, het ene oog dat

banjo’s van de heuvels trok en stuksloeg in Rio Valley;
ze noteren hoe hij voortjankte naar dat donkere district

St. Thomas, dronken stampend met draadslagen en -krampen
elektriciteitspalen en kokospalmen verlammend,

tweedracht telend onder buren die, onbeschut, voor het eerst
te midden van hun geplette, verscheurde levens stonden.

Hij raasde door Aunt May’s hoofd, smeet
de meubels omver, liet haar brabbelend achter,

kruising tussen kip en kind; ze snapten niet
hoe hij haar verstand verwoestte, geen woorden,

pakten hun apparatuur, vliegen keerden terug om neer
te knielen op Aunt May’s gezicht, zacht geworden;

geen woorden, behalve: Niet piekeren, reden weg,
alsof ze betere beloften achterlieten voor later.

AFTER THE HURRICANE

After the hurricane walks a silence, deranged, white as the white helmets
of government surveyors looking into roofless

shacks, accessing stunned fowls, noting inquiries
into the logic of feathers, reversed, like gullies still retching; they scribble facts

about fallen cedars, spread out like dead generals on leaf
medallions; they draw tables to show the shore

has rearranged its idea of beauty for the resort
villas, miraculously not rattled by the hurricane’s –

call it Cyclops – passage through the lives
of children and pigs, the one eye that unhooked

banjos from the hills, smashed them in Rio Valley;
they record how it howled off to that dark parish

St. Thomas, stomping drunk with wire lashes and cramps,
paralyzing electric poles and coconut trees,

dishing discord among neighbours, exposed,
standing among their flattened, scattered lives for the first time.

It passed through Aunt May’s head, upsetting
the furniture, left her chattering something,

a cross between a fowl and a child; they can’t say
how it tore down her senses, no words, packing

their instruments, flies returning to genuflect
at their knees, on Aunt May’s face, gone soft;

no words, except: Don’t fret, driving off,
as if they had left better promises to come.
Close

AFTER THE HURRICANE

After the hurricane walks a silence, deranged, white as the white helmets
of government surveyors looking into roofless

shacks, accessing stunned fowls, noting inquiries
into the logic of feathers, reversed, like gullies still retching; they scribble facts

about fallen cedars, spread out like dead generals on leaf
medallions; they draw tables to show the shore

has rearranged its idea of beauty for the resort
villas, miraculously not rattled by the hurricane’s –

call it Cyclops – passage through the lives
of children and pigs, the one eye that unhooked

banjos from the hills, smashed them in Rio Valley;
they record how it howled off to that dark parish

St. Thomas, stomping drunk with wire lashes and cramps,
paralyzing electric poles and coconut trees,

dishing discord among neighbours, exposed,
standing among their flattened, scattered lives for the first time.

It passed through Aunt May’s head, upsetting
the furniture, left her chattering something,

a cross between a fowl and a child; they can’t say
how it tore down her senses, no words, packing

their instruments, flies returning to genuflect
at their knees, on Aunt May’s face, gone soft;

no words, except: Don’t fret, driving off,
as if they had left better promises to come.

AFTER THE HURRICANE

Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Literature Translation Institute of Korea
Partners
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère