The Hurricane in Arizona

Pictures of the hurricane
wash across a television screen
with a diagram revolving
in one corner
showing red and yellow
energy like anger
that doesn’t care which way it goes.
A news anchor’s voice

is audible from the porch at a house
in dry country, whose monsoon
season is fading to a final
rumble from across
the mountains to the south
as hummingbirds around
suspended glass feeders
are constantly in motion. The Rufous

are pausing from migration
and the Broad-billed preparing for theirs.
While they anticipate
the flight and water
has its way with Florida
the hills close by
don’t know the plans
to strip and drill into them, using
a billion gallons in a year

of prying silver from darkness
beneath the summer swallows,
oak trees and mesquite
that survive on seventeen inches
of annual rain. A six foot
storm surge is making easy work
of the Keys, weaving power lines
into a tangle, and taking trees at will.
The forecast is for
more destruction as the eye
steers north; buildings swept aside;

diesel in the air when
a column of trucks carries off the daily
waste on the once quiet roads; poison
in the water, and a monumental appetite
for minerals. In their brightly
colored anoraks, reporters
sway on their feet

and describe what water
is doing right now. The view
across the valley here
is almost lush in its September glow
and the streams that run there
are clean. We say
still clean, as everything is still
what it has been
for life above ground, for the Violet-crowned

hummingbird suspended
from the sky
like a drop of bright moisture
with wings.

David Chorlton has lived in Phoenix since 1978. He grew up in England with watching soccer as a major part of life although he has managed to move on to other interests since then, including reading and writing poetry. Read other articles by David.