“I Am Prepared”

There is a lull in the storm.
The air is still.
Trees recently bent
To the ground
Stand tall again
Their leaves intact.

I am prepared.
Canned food
In the cupboard.
Bottles of water
On the sink.
Kerosene lamps
Atop the table.
Wood for heat
And cooking
By the fireplace.

I hear the sound of a train
In the distance.
It comes closer
And closer
Until it is over my head.
The house shakes.
The roof is torn away
Leaving me exposed
Exposed to the elements
As the house lifts
And is tossed to the sea.

I am not prepared
For this.

(Photo by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Friday Fictioneers, March 29, 2013.)

This entry was posted in Flash Fiction, Micro Fiction, Short Fiction, Short Story and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

44 Responses to “I Am Prepared”

  1. Vb, I like the way you structured your story, putting it firmly in the camp between story and poem. I also like where you went with the prompt and you’re right that often not all the preparation in the world can prepare you for that for which you’re preparing!


    • vbholmes says:

      Thanks for the compliments, Janet. I think we’re all a little arrogant when it comes to preparing for a possible disaster and we’re surprised when it’s as bad as, or worse than, expected.

      • You can be prepared for loss of power, need to have food, etc. but how can you really prepare for the loss of your house or apartment or car or…?

      • vbholmes says:

        Close friends of ours lost their house in Sandy–completely gone. It had been in the family for over eighty years and the sentimental loss was as great as the material one.

  2. a calm before the storm – which is how your prose moves the reader. Also a good lesson as an ending

  3. 😆 Great spin. You can’t be prepared for everything.

  4. Sandra says:

    I really liked this. I’d been tempted to go down that path too, but I don’t think I could have done the concept justice in the way that you have. Lovely.

  5. Parul says:

    Very different take on the prompt. I liked how you used the elements of the prompt. The storm seemed very real!

  6. Tom Poet says:

    Those hurricane lambs will get you every time…Love the poem/story it moves along at the perfect pace. Well done!


  7. Joe Owens says:

    There is no safe place above ground when the Twisters come calling . All the preparation was for naught.

  8. Well said.Nature will have its way regardless.

  9. claudia says:

    So nicely done! Tornados are a key word here around Joplin! You capture the feelings of never being prepared for what we see…..

  10. Dear VB,
    A very well told story in free verse. Love the last line. Some things just can’t be prepared for. Good job!

  11. Jan Brown says:

    This was both beautiful and frightening. Well done!

    • vbholmes says:

      I have been through a major hurricane and that is bad enough–to be hit by a tornado has to be terrifying if you’re lucky enough to live through it.

  12. Excellent piece of work.
    Loved it.

  13. vbholmes says:

    Many thanks–really enjoyed yours. Very clever.

  14. zookyworld says:

    I like your poem approach to the photo prompt… and I thought of the Wizard of Oz (probably since I saw the Oz movie earlier this week). I like the suspense of the tornado approaching, and then the wild image of the house being tossed to the sea. Great ending, too!

    • vbholmes says:

      I suspect it would be quite an experience to watch a house being torn off its foundation by the wind–but nothing compared to being inside that house at the time! Thanks for the nice comments.

  15. unspywriter says:

    It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature when she wants to catch you unprepared. Great job.

    Here’s mine: http://unexpectedpaths.com/friday-fictioneers/doom-and-gloom/

    • vbholmes says:

      True–you can’t predict them all. Think of the great storm we were supposed to get a couple of weeks ago–was needlessly prepared for that one. Thank goodness.

  16. A great look at man versus nature. It’s arrogant to think we can ever be truly prepared.

  17. Shreyank says:

    a poetic story.. enjoyed it

  18. julespaige says:

    Thought I popped in here…sometimes I forget to hit the post comment button.

    Reminded me a bit of OZ.
    As well really about the hurricanes, like Irene that reeked havoc last year.

  19. Beth Carter says:

    What a beautiful, powerful poem. You swept me away. Loved the last line. (And we get plenty of those scary tornadoes here in Missouri. Had that huge one in Joplin a couple of years ago.)

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