Down by Biloxi’s shore, a country boy who told us he loved
chicken gizzards and turnip greens drove a cab that smelled of seafood
near a white spit of beach, a shoal of porpoises on the hunt,
a sea hawk overhead, scars of Katrina along Highway 90.

This haven from winter warmed the bones, the casino offering
bad tuna melts and gulf breezes. A loud woman poked a slot machine.
No one questioned the lack of service since the pandemic had struck,
tolerating soiled linen, wet carpet, a busy signal to the front desk.

My husband played poker and won a hand, bluffing with a pair of nines.
I bought a pie bird, Polish pottery, thinking about the Poles
who provided baby buggies and homes for fleeing Ukrainians.
Was this the least I could do on a free four-day vacation?

Above the veranda, a Coast Guard copter flew by, keeping watch.
A homeless man on the pier ate from a bin while we breakfasted
on cathead biscuits, eggs, and grits. I never found a newspaper
for sale, seeking news about Ukraine. A storm blew in.

On our last day, we waited for luggage to be hauled to the airport,
rain pelting the tour bus, donning masks for the flight home.
Somewhere in the distance, a siren sounded, a tornado warning.
Somewhere in Kyiv, people huddled in bomb shelters, shivering in cold.