HomeSouthern VoiceReturning the Lantern after Hurricane Ida

Returning the Lantern after Hurricane Ida

by Benjamin Morris

Faithful friend,
 companion these last days,
you gave us hope
 once the power had failed
and the night took us
 in its waiting arms.
Reading, eating, bathing
 in this sudden dark,
your glow never wavered,
 only swung gently at our side
as we carried you from room
 to room, as you carried us
through the caverns of our homes.
 When the fury had passed,
you helped us find one another
 in the downed street, helped us
find the scattered pieces
 of ourselves. Rest, now,
hanging on your nail by the door,
 the power restored, the last
of the dusk no longer
 the refuge where we huddled,
wondering what the morning sky
 would reveal, holding
such small and fragile
 starlight in our hands.


A native of Mississippi, Benjamin Morris is the author of one book of nonfiction and two prior books of poetry, most recently Ecotone (Antenna/Press Street Press, 2017). His work has appeared in such places as The Oxford American, Southern Review and Lithub, and he has received fellowships from the Mississippi Arts Commission, Tulane University and A Studio in the Woods. Morris won the 2021 Words & Music Writing Competition for Poetry, judged by Aimee Nezhukumathatil. He lives in New Orleans, where he serves as one of the coordinators for the New Orleans Poetry Festival.

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