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Patricia Flaherty Pagan

Writer of karma fiction in which bad things happen to bad people

Poetry & Community Rise From the Flood Waters

Texas writers have struggled to make meaning out of the way in which the winds & floods of Hurricane Harvey battered our state. I am sure that writers in Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and parts of Florida face some of the same questions.

Writing is my refuge and the air into which I release my fears (when joyful, I dance or laugh with my son or my sisters). I could not write about Harvey at first, it felt too fresh, but the catharsis of words and the supportive spirit of the Houston writing community have led me to process my experience on the page. A Boston gal, my understanding of intense disasters consisted of blizzards and ice storms. During these storms, New Englanders went without power and oil heat for days, some were lost to black ice or, in  some tragic, extreme cases, froze to death. But I never faced the specter of families and houses washed away by flood waters. I also discovered I am very afraid of tornadoes, a fear that had no reason to bloom in Boston. Blessed, my family emerged from Harvey wounded only by strong emotions. Many Texans, including some of my friends and colleagues, were not so lucky.

Poetry helped me process the fear, confusion and sadness for my community that washed over me even as the flood waters receded. Volunteering when I could to help with the recovery efforts, I was lucky to find time to put pen to paper. I also had the good fortune of bringing together a healing through creativity project with the indefatigable writer Jody T. Morse. I am pleased to share my own poem about Harvey below. Humbled, I also share a link to the poignant Hurricane Haiku written by emerging and established writers of the Gulf Coast.



in our leather coat burrow

lantern-lit, reading

Dragons Love Tacos

over the roaring of iPhone


Eyeing PowerBars

stowed, safe, in Tupperware

Enough water,

Enough water?

Enough water

standing sentry

in its own family

of plastic jugs.

Restless toes

tapping on the green, dusty rug-

haven found

in a muddy boy’s

keen, wary


I encourage you to read the moving, vivid Hurricane Haiku of Gulf Coast poets as curated by Jody T. Morse. Explore the pain and healing of this haiku at: