Aftereffect

My grandparents home was destroyed in the Joplin tornado in 2011. They both survived the tornado, but my grandma's health began declining rapidly afterwards. I wrote this poem after she died the next year.


He came when no one was watching 
no one was expecting him.
She was so calm and kind; the epitome of
actions always speak louder than words.
And the cardinal was her favorite bird
it seemed to be pinned to her every shirt.
Her smile came less often but when it came it lit up her eyes. 

He didn’t knock on their door
only sirens announced his entrance minutes before.
He’s a killer;
mocker of words
and destroyer of health.
He takes what isn’t his
and he delights in it.
He comes in through roofs
leaving the chimney for your Santa;
the only hopes and dreams you have for that split second.
Everything you have is threatened. 

Sitting in the bathroom,
clinging to your poodle in the tub,
not knowing that those will soon be the only things you own. 

 He still haunted her months later, taking her breath with the arm of a chair….