The Grey Man of Hatteras

Poetry by Logan Berns
Issue 57 • November 2017 • Virginia Beach

Since 1900 over 167 people have died during tropical storms
and hurricanes on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Thursday evening the sun set on the east coast.
The grey man curled up under the fourth pillar
of the Avon Pier, pursuing rest for the night.

For over a hundred years he has walked the 49 miles
from the Bonner Bridge to the Ferry, picking up
High Life bottles and trash abandoned by tourists.

As swirls begin to form on radars off the Ivory Coast,
the grey man zips up his Carhartt, pulling his beanie snug.
He places two Clif bars in his pocket.

The grey man dodges the camera flashes of tourists,
only being seen when a deadly hurricane
is in route to the vulnerable barrier islands.

Tourists ignore the fading head walking the coastline,
locals tape their windows and head inland.

Logan Berns is a native of Virginia Beach and has an undergraduate degree from the University of Mary Washington.

Photography by Paul Hostetler

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