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Anderson Inside the Hurricane by Stefi Weisburd

published in New Ohio Review, Issue 4, Fall 2008



Anderson Inside the Hurricane

by Stefi Weisburd


The wind has come to remind us of our wings

— Mississippi artist Walter Anderson,

who tied himself to trees in order to experience hurricanes


Lashed to the mast, ears thrashed by sirens in the eyewall, Anderson is the squall’s canvas, ravaged by wind that wants to strip his skin from skull and howl.


Only yesterday he sank to hands and knees to understand the guano of green heron, to paint

the violet frog. Lying by a quiet lagoon, inking a white-throated sparrow, he saw cadmium and red madder happily flare in foliage. In the slash pines of Horn Island where imagination fills the space between trees, art

defers the evil moment. Contour of bark or butterfly is ballast; it calms the


gale within him, bulrush pool, always a balm until a storm makes land. Then it froths and spits, rain needles him, ankles deep in the surge. How will he paint the sting of maddened sand, the batter of root

torn from loam, blue strafed from sky? Titanium whitecaps throttle the mangrove beach. All around him, palms flash and flinch like broken umbrellas in brash light, the shed in shivers under


the blotted sun. A locomotive in his ear, wind wrenches his breath from its palate, whips him beyond himself, out of his sleeve of pain, sopping


and so close, so close to capsizing . . . Something in the cyclone cries out.


Something wheels


and sings.




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