What I want to do in my Adirondack lean
next to a one-legged man
on the porch of the last seafood place
slinging swai po boys and bottled beer
before the hurricane evacuation
is ask how he lost it.
I’d hear about his crab trap
sprung at the bay shore, his slip,
his knee scrape and bruise
first maybe the size of a sea flea,
growing to a seahorse brood pouch,
by dusk big as a sea floor tar ball
tumbling toward him in the night
when red streaks eeled up his thigh.
The doctor in the ER told him:
I’ll give it to you straight.
What I do is watch the local women
who’ll stay through the storm,
their hair whipping around them
as if under the water already.
I help secure a skirt, chase a sunhat, as the wind—
oh, the wind—as the man with one leg
explains Ivan means John in Russian,
as he catches a woman’s gold earring
midair, as it flashes over his head like a beacon.
So many Ivans, he says, the great and the terrible.