Saturday, July 30, 2011

Before the Storm

Before the storm
was the neatness of Spring
the Crabapple tree
young again
starred in its one useful role
and marked the yard's center point
the bluegrass a razor cut jade
hemmed and tucked into concrete cuffs
swingset counted a Haydn waltz

We were born to the prairie and knew
when sirens sliced the yeastless air
the drilled bare feet procession
toward the screen door
corralled by thunder that snapped the cerulean sky
like one of our parent's electric arguments
eruptions that made us skip a few steps down
to the sanctuary of ground

The weatherman blinked back
his arrowed arms like a weathervane
spun into confusion
vortices circled like distant hawks
Somewhere out in East Jesus, Mom chuckled
somewhere outside our metropolis of 130,000
somewhere in the safety of the unknown

In those times we held fast to normal
Dad chased a hairy brown coconut
across the floor with a hammer
Mom with a basket of laundry to fold
as our world unfolded
Perry Como instructed us to find refuge

Don't let the stars get in your eyes
don't let the moon break your heart
don't linger too long in the light of the moon
too many moons could change your mind

Warnings wrapped in a polka
garnished with a post-war victory smile
that made us believe
the roof would always hold

But the time sequestered
and the temporary no-fly zone
over blankets on the basement floor
didn't save us from the storm

Yasmeen Najmi

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