Poet Meghann Plunkett
Filmmaker Kenneth Kegley
Each winter a new storm bent on our shoreline and damage
bloomed wild. When the neighbors left, we stayed
watching the seawall recede stone by stone. The windows
of other houses grew closed, boarded, as ours glowed
through each night. Begging for it. A line corseting
our home thinner from where the water scaled, stained
and entered through the windows. Our small peninsula
of land caught between the bay and the gray Atlantic–
there was no hope. Gulls nested on the barren island
of our roof, cracking blue crabs on battered shingles.
The waves gnashed up our welcome mat, silver-sided
minnows gasped on our doorstep. My father grinning
like a mad man lost at sea when he’d wade out
to get the mail, the floating garbage barrels spinning over
and over like pigs on a spit. Over the years, everything grew
larger around us. The school lifted by two cranes, the church
tilting on seventeen stilts, one barn moved half an acre
back. The fog horn giving up mid-January, the light-
house rolling its neck like a drunk. We lived
with the smell of the tide thick in our sweaters.
A pair of swans floating underneath a barnacled
swing set. The moon, a dumb eye, watching
our home inch closer and closer to the breaking
of waves–chewed by salt, slowly disappearing–
my mother with her two palms pressed to the window,
fogging the glass with the small weather of her breath.
By Meghann Plunkett
“South County,” by Meghann Plunkett. ©2018 Meghann Plunkett. Used by permission.