Self-Portrait During a Tornado Sighting

 

Through the window I see a murmuration
of starlings bat against the weathervane

like bullets of rain & feel my buzzing
thigh—texts & social media

tear across the great plains & rocky
mountain states, heralding news

of earthquakes in California.
My mother’s messages are worry, worry

paraphrased, my replies read guilty, guilty.
I type furiously: i don't see the twister

though I do, transfixed as the swirl
pummels trees in the distance, licking

its fists with every advance. The television
offers no advice—red, green, & yellow

flash over a map of Ohio
as if the state were a cuttlefish

mesmerizing its prey with a light show.
I am god-scared now, seeing the layers

of grit & shearing-magic too closely.
God is taking his drill to the earth.

My yarmulke will not protect me—
ducking-&-covered on a second floor

apartment building—wearing a loose
helmet of fingers over that.

I’m down to a lone match flickering
in the tar-dark, listening to the trauma

in the tornado sirens’ automatic bleating—
not for the cyclone, but for the birdless

quiet that follows.

Close

Places I've Been

The following links are virtual breadcrumbs marking the 27 most recent pages you have visited in Bucknell.edu. If you want to remember a specific page forever click the pin in the top right corner and we will be sure not to replace it. Close this message.