Definition #208 Tornado

twister

tornado

Tornado

by Greg Watson

Just beyond the hem of the lake’s blue skirt
the sky turned suddenly jaundiced,

a weighted stillness, not quite your own,
descended, and even the black pine

and birch hovered motionless
in a calm that bore no calmness at all.

And for what must have been the briefest
of moments you gazed, a child of seven,

transfixed on the sinewy black thread
of the storm, its form swaying,

tearing the fabric of the horizon,
throwing bits of cloud and gravel dust

as dogs and kids scurried into the small, white cabins
which suddenly looked as though they were

made to be thrown all along, something
stolen from the set of someone else’s epic.

And years later you would not remember
how it was you were pulled indoors,

or whose arm it was that lifted you
with the force of a blow bringing you to safety,

nor how the storm at once lifted, lifted,
like a needle from a phonograph

above the roofs of trees still trembling;
and when you looked out again

it was through brown sheets of mud
slapped across the windows

the dark fragrance of earthworms
seeping through the slats,

beyond which the world shone as green
and peaceful as it ever would again.

“Tornado” by Greg Watson from All the World at Once. © Nodin Press, 2015. Reprinted with permission.

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