Key Biscayne

by Carol Schoen

The storm ravaged
the beach on the isle;
waves assaulted the lighthouse,
ripped out the pines by their roots.
They leaned against each other,
spindly poles, their needles,
a shawl to hide their dying.

Hurricanes were the island’s history.
Earlier ones had wiped out
real estate developments, orange
plantations, a rich man’s estate
until finally the land
was sowed with fast-
growing, shallow-rooted
Australian pines.  Feathery
needles provided shelter
for the raccoon come to
its narrow sandy shore.

Our favorite place
for swims in the waveless
sea, party picnics, wine
to salute the sun’s good-bye.
After the storm, we wandered
back.  Most of the fallen
trees had been removed, a few
rotted in damp mud.  When
we took out the food,  gaunt
raccoons emerged from the devastated forest, stood
silent, then shuffled
towards us.

Carol Schoen wrote her first poems for Sarah White’s study group and has been chugging along happily ever since.