Storm chronicle

Dear Dana and Blythe,

The storm jarred me awake at 4:00,
at 4:30, at 5:00 — close strikes
are a fact of life here on the mountaintop.
The lightning came & went, came & went.
When I finally got up,
weariness flooded every muscle,
& I sat on the porch sipping black coffee
& enjoying the Brownian noise
of rain on the roof. The darkness
freed me from the labor of seeing,
the downpour, from listening.
Each flash & boom was painful,
the apparition of trees, yard, porch
all much too brief for my slow pupils
to shrink and take in.
Awakening is rarely a rapid thing;
dawning can’t be rushed.
I’ll admit, though, I pulled my pocket
notebook out & began writing blind —
too risky to go turn the computer on.
When I looked at it later, in the light,
I found I’d underestimated the spaces
between lines: words overlapped
as if on a palimpsest, ballpoint arabesques
interwove like fingers in hair.
Flashes, but not of insight,
I appeared to have written.
Ark of the Covenant — talking drums —
dyslexia of dark & light.

I am a cipher to myself. At least
the storm passed.

3 Comments


  1. Nice work, Dave. I like “the Brownian noise / of rain on the roof” and “I found I’d underestimated the spaces / between lines: words overlapped / as if on a palimpsest.” There’s an assonance between estimated and palimpsest that pleases me. And those last two lines! Brilliant.

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  2. Hey, thanks! You wouldn’t believe how long I labored over this thing before those last two lines finally suggested themselves. And I’m impressed that you can hear that assonance; I barely noticed it myself.

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