A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 13, Number 3, September 2019

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Glenn G. Coats
Carolina Shores, North Carolina, USA

Shifting Currents

Wednesday. Hurricane Florence inches closer to Wilmington, North Carolina. It is bigger than the state of South Carolina. My wife and I pack some clothes, papers that seem important, a grocery bag of food. We move photo albums and books onto counter tops, turn off the water, then drive backroads to the foothills of Virginia.

Thursday. My wife and I are staying with a friend. She gives us her daughter’s room which once was a sun porch. Walls covered with art from high school, photos of a boyfriend. “Make yourself at home,” our friend says.

Friday. I check emails. A barrage of flood and wind warnings, along with a new message in My Chart from the doctor. It says the test revealed positive signs of cancer.

intrusive thoughts
this little light
again and again

I try to establish routines: walk the dog, make up the bed, plan dinners, make lists of items to pick up in town. Rain from the storm has reached Virginia; there are mudslides near the lake and a tornado has touched down in Richmond.

dissonant chords—
deep down in a pocket
the diagnosis

Sunday. My wife keeps saying the result is wrong—a mistake. I tell her that the test is ninety percent accurate but she isn’t listening anymore. Rivers continue to rise, flooding farms and fields, closing thousands of roads. There is no clear way home. It will be weeks before I can find my way back to normal.

sleepless nights
the tumble of water
to the sea