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State of Denial

State of Denial

No sooner than 24 hours after Hurricane Ian
rumbled through the I-4 corridor where Orlandoans,
who live in the buckle of Florida’s Bible Belt,
counted themselves among the blessed
as if our neighbors in Lee County were damned
like the New Orleanians whom the local TV
evangelists assured viewers were paying
the price for their debaucheries, and God
had sent a hurricane to wash away the stench
of their sins that had reached heaven‘s gates;
our governor described the hurricane’s
intensity as “historical,” part of a 500 year
cycle and not the result of warming waters
in the Gulf caused by trapped greenhouse gases
in the atmosphere. But, in earlier statements
he’d used the word “biblical”—a dog whistle
for the true believers and not meant for my ears,
yet I interpreted it as a harbinger, like Jonah’s
journey to compassion, which the Ninevites heeded
over the complaints of naysayers, like the shirtless
man in Fort Myers who braved 150 mph winds
to wave his “Fuck Biden” flag under a sabal palm
while houses next door slipped under the surge.

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