A number of unifying ideas or themes run through the poem. Different readers may attach more or less significance to each of these themes, depending upon how they view the poem.
|Biography and memory: poem is a first-person narrative. It may be dedicated to the poet's husband, suggesting it could be autobiographical.||'for Fred', 'the glossy blue/ My pen exudes, drying matte, upon the page', 'You're bunkered in your/ Aerie, I'm perched in mine/ (Twin desks, computers, hardwood floors)'||References to a writer's study, with computers and office equipment, suggests Dove is writing about her own experiences as a writer. This intimate detail is one of the poem's strengths. It is also possible that the writer is picturing a fictional figure who shares many of the writer's own experiences.|
|Weather: the imminent arrival of Hurricane Floyd and its potential impact runs throughout the poem.||'Today a hurricane is nudging up the coast,/ Oddly male: Big Bad Floyd, who brings a host/ Of daydreams', 'Floyd's/ Cussing up a storm'||While Hurricane Floyd has potential to bring destruction, the speaker suggests that the storm is welcome - it frees her from the business of everyday life. Being cosy indoors also allows the couple to be together - this gives the speaker the chance to reflect on their happy domestic life together.|
|Men: the poem refers to different memories and fantasies about men the speaker has known.||'Astride a dappled mare', 'silver stirrups', 'chain mail glinting', 'to set me free', 'Oddly male', 'worthless boys', 'thin as licorice and as chewy', 'Sweet with a dark and hollow center'||The speaker imagines her partner as a heroic knight in shining armour. This is a cliché (overused and unoriginal) of romantic love which may be used in irony (a mismatch between the actual meaning and what is implied). The speaker may be gently teasing her partner by making this comparison. Another male presence is the hurricane which is 'oddly male' as most hurricanes are given female names. Like her partner, the hurricane has both the strength and power to bring or take away happiness. The speaker contrasts these strong male figures with the 'worthless' boyfriends of her youth - although they seemed sweet, they were 'thin' and 'hollow' inside.|