flat stanley’s hurricane at nautilus teachings



who remembers
flat stanley?
all three of my kids
made him,
and sent him to a relative
where they documented
his travel and adventures
from air plane rides,
to bath times
and even water skiing…
in each photograph
flat stanley
looked exactly that
and with
a goofy smile…
getting him back
in the mail with an
illustrated story
of his adventures
was always a great day…
we would eat dinner together
and when the last plate was cleared
the magic manilla envelope
was placed in front of the recipient
everyone waiting in anticipation
ready to laugh
and cheer
for flat stanley’s
exciting journey…
as the story was read aloud
while we all ate ice-cream
sitting on the edge of our seats
listening with anticipation
knowing full well
no matter the peril
he was in
flat stanley survived
because he was here,
back home
laying flat
upon the table
with the same
empty stare
he had when he left…
hurricane season this year
has done this to some of us,
i know it has to me
and my d…
we get up
after a fitful night
attempt at normal sleep
we walk into walls
stumble over the dogs
rub our eyes
and stare blankly into the mirror
at our worn out reflections…

after briefly washing and smoothing on
layers of under the eye makeup
to try and hide
the obvious
over done
with rain
with wind
with tornado warnings
with tropical storm updates
hurricane warnings
not flushing toilets
using gallon bottles of water
to wash our pits and slits
not to mention
brush our teeth
eating off of paper plates
reusing plastic cups
forks, knives and spoons
not to mention emptying daily
the garbage cans which hold
the toilet paper we use
and do not drop in the toilet
so we can only flush
once each a day…
we are for sure
completely over
checking weather stations
over and over
making sure they are all
basically in sync
allowing us to
kinda live a day
like we used to,
we are just getting
to flipping old for all of this
in and out with furniture
up and down with shutters
sedating the dogs
saying goodbye to our things
as we lock up
and hunker down
at a friends
then returning to
climbing on the roof every day
cleaning up our saturated businesses
cutting down limbs
cleaning back up
putting away
always saying a prayer
that this year
there will be no more…
we want to be just like
flat stanley
we want to package ourselves up
and ship us off to
a calm, cool, beautiful
peaceful place with
fresh water
warm baths
yummy food
foot massages
and nights of sleeping
soundly like a baby…
we want to come back
to our home telling
wonderful, silly stories
of what we did
to our family and friends
while they sit captive,
wine glass in hand
mouths dropped open
holding their breath
with replies like,
“oh, my gosh…”
“no flippin’ way…”
“you really did that?”
“wow, honey, we should do that next year…”

we want to smile
go to the gym
drive our cars
work a full day
eat real meals
do the laundry
on the day we always do
have fresh towels
twice a week
and clean sheets…
reality is flat.
we live in paradise
this is part of it,
end of story.
we both
are staring in the mirror
as we glance toward
one another…
d begins to speak,
‘well, honey…i can see why snow birds
come to florida, now…’
i roll my eyes
push the bulging underneath them in
with my pointer finger
smile at the man i love
then push in the bags
under his eyes…
i flush the toilet
and we both swear
it sings hallelujah
the boys are cross legged
needing to go out-
it is raining and blowing hard…
d sweeps down
pecks me on my lips
and says,
‘use all the water you want this morning
to wash your face, love
i will take care of the boys..’
and just like that
he grabs the umbrella
hooks the dogs on the leash
opens the door
and leaves me
still staring at my bags
but now tears are gliding
down my cheeks
as i look up toward the heavens
and say,
‘thank you lord
for this man
our life together
and the hope
that soon,
for we
only have
55 more days
of the
hurricane season…