Storm Surge
Austin Segrest

Storm Surge

        Race Point Beach


The water fountain’s jet is blown apart
and snatched backward. Green obsidian,
the waves hitch and stand and, wrestled down,
slam into other waves. The north wind rakes
and shoves as they dig in their heels,
children dragged twisting and screaming.
The north wind is stripping
the green from the grass, which lays back
its ears and whines. Foam crawls out
of the runup in stop motion,
boiled eggwhite shivering on the shore.
Sanderlings scamper just the same,
the airborne batted about, flecked projectiles
overshooting by a country mile.
Black-backs soar like Valkyries.


The Puritan looked and said the Lord was angry.
He said a loss is cast upon us.
He wept and prayed, he gnashed and brushed his teeth
with a paste made of brimstone, butter, and gunpowder
the ocean is still spitting out.

Austin Segrest

is the author of Door to Remain, winner of the 2021 Vassar Miller Prize for Poetry. Born and raised in Alabama, he teaches at Lawrence University in Wisconsin.