Storm Watch

A tree falls dead at my feet.
In its wake, black wire serpents
flail. Their sparkler tails
burn and flare—
a sort of sati
portending missed voicemails
of suicide and love:
the cords snap,
cell phone towers down
and I’m blank
as the matte-slate air—

I inch my way past the extinct
traffic signal, crushing wings of leaves
and limbs of struck trees,
my car congealed
in liquid stillness
as the windshield wipers
swish and swish

Storm warning in five counties
and tornado watch delivered through static
like this overlooked death threat
delivered into my ear,
and no reception
no response

I never knew it was a twister
waiting to meet me down the bend:
it wasn’t enough to survive once today,
so the sky hoarded shadows
like a ball of found rubberbands
and tucked it in this slingshot of wind
stretching taut on the branches
that break and hurl before me:
it wasn’t enough to be stuck
on a road with no shoulder
and flashing lights of fire trucks:
can’t pull over

it wasn’t enough to get this call
two days late,
and not knowing
if the storm has passed
or his ghost waits at my back:
only that sometimes
the rain falls so hard
the contours of road disappear
and inanimate objects attack

but all I can do
is turn off the radio
and sing of my smallness
to a God I can suddenly feel,
feeling strangely safe
as the funnel of darkness
gathers speed,
sucking up sky
and startling the world
with sudden nightfall

and neither of us would matter
nor this whole world of playthings,
so easily submerged and purged
of their messy disenchantments,
if it weren’t for the smile
of a little girl
waiting for me
like a hidden sun on the end
of a silver cord—

she is smaller than a raindrop,
but a universe to me.
On my street, the power is out;
I have no vacancies for ghosts.
A child lives in my house:
her flashlight’s ray dances on the screen.
In the aftermath of broken things,
I clutch her to me like a dream.

© Psyche Marks 2007

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