Hurricane, a Prose Poem

Job.  It was an appropriate book for the weather because, after all, Job’s troubles had started with tornadoes striking the house where his sons and daughters were feasting, killing them all.  Hubert listened to the wind shake his house and thought about the book of Psalms, where King David had written:

He makes winds his messengers,

flames of fire his servants.”

He wondered what the wind had to tell him tonight. Probably nothing. Maybe, that it was time to go out in the storm and let God have his way. That painter on the coast had done it. Anderson. Walter Anderson. Rowed a boat out into the Gulf of Mexico, clear out to Horn Island, tied himself to a tree and howled into the throat of a  hurricane. He was dying too. Cancer. The storm didn’t get him though. The cancer did.

Everything was in order, he guessed. The will was signed, cattle records filed, pass book and insurance policies locked in the safe-deposit box. His lawyer knew where everything was, and Caleb wouldn’t have any trouble sorting out his affairs.  He’d already made the arrangements at the funeral home—everything paid for.

There were worse ways to go out than in a storm. God spoke to Job out of the whirlwind. Jesus calmed the waters. He would be with his cattle, and that’s where anybody who knew him would expect to find him. Out in the field with his cattle. That’s where Caleb would know to look.

He rolled another cigarette and thought about it, picked up his matches and lit it and took a deep drag. He coughed it out, eyes watering, and waited until he could take another pull.

When he finished the cigarette he ground it out in the ashtray and dropped the butt in a mason jar about half full of butts, insurance against a day with no makings.

He set the Bible on the table beside his chair and stood up to go.

Hubert, Waiting for the Hurricane, a scene from a novel in progress

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Job.  It was an appropriate book for the weather because, after all, Job’s troubles had started with the tornados striking the house where his sons and daughters were feasting, killing them all.  Hubert listened to the wind shake his house and thought about the book of Psalms, where King David had written:

“He makes winds his messengers,

flames of fire his servants.”

Hubert wondered what the wind had to tell him tonight. Maybe nothing–a big storm like this hit the Mississippi coast every few years for as long as he could remember, a long time. Maybe, though, it was telling him that it was time to go out in the storm and let God have his way. That painter on the coast had done it. Anderson. Walter Anderson. Rowed a boat out into the Gulf of Mexico, clear out to Horn Island, tied himself to a tree and howled into the throat of a  hurricane. Anderson was dying too. Cancer. The storm didn’t get him though. The cancer did.

Everything was in order, he guessed. The will was signed, cattle records filed, pass book and insurance policies locked in the safe-deposit box. His lawyer knew where everything was, and Caleb wouldn’t have any trouble sorting out his affairs.  He’d already made the arrangements at the funeral home—everything paid for.

There were worse ways to go out than in a storm. God spoke to Job out of the whirlwind. Jesus calmed the waters. Hubert would be with his cattle, and that’s where anybody who knew him would expect to find him. Out in the field with his cattle. He rolled another cigarette and thought about it, had just about made up his mind when the shooting started down at the river. It was just far enough away, dimmed by the wind and the rain, that he thought it was firecrackers.

Hubert smashed out his cigarette and stood up, waiting for a moment for the dizziness to pass. When he could walk he pulled on his boots and headed out the door, pausing only long enough to pull on his rain coat and pick up the shotgun from the corner by the door.