SWWIM publishes, celebrates, & promotes women, women-identifying & Femme-presenting writers through a Miami-based reading series & the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.

Before Landfall by Sarah Carey

for my father

In the latest projection, Irma creeps
up the spine of the supine peninsula.

We lie sober in our safe room,
foundation beneath us, rooted to the soil

doors and windows shut tight, radio, flashlight,
extra batteries and covered shoes at hand

so we can run from room to room
between gusts, snaps and thuds

as if we might save what we’ve built
from intrusion, elements we’ll never escape.

As the fluids left my father’s body,
he tracked my moving mouth, a salt river

smelling of seaweed and grief.
His good eye would see me through

my slips, the mopping up
I’d always do when storms swept in

then out with who we were,
so sure we’d not be hit again.

When I was as tiny as a country
seen from light years away,

he held me high above the swirling sea
that was the beginning and the end of everything.


Sarah Carey is a graduate of the Florida State University creative writing program. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Rattle, The Carolina Quarterly, Superstition Review, Rise Up Review, Valparaiso Review, Barrow Street, The Christian Century, UCity Review and elsewhere. Her debut poetry chapbook, The Heart Contracts, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2016. She works for the University of Florida and lives in Gainesville. Visit her at sarahkcarey.com or on Twitter @SayCarey1.

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