Astraphobia

— Tara A. Elliott

after Louise Glück

In August, when the sky hangs so very, very low,
and you feel as though your fingertips could scrape
the blue from the earth’s ceiling, every living thing
stretches upward—even leaves twist underbellies
upward to reach for rain.

I find you languishing in the field,
wire-grass cementing you in place—once some
small dark seed in the belly of a trough, brown marks
now burned into your fading leaves.

Heavy with the weight of what you hold inside—
soil cracks into chasms at your feet.
The crows, black and fierce feast
from rows of dried corn in the still air.

The air suddenly charges, humidity shouldering
the cold—metal bites
                              through this atmosphere.
The clouds pile thickly, gathering
the darkness.

The first of the drops falls
               to roll off solid earth.

I remember it all—
there were white flashes, bright light.

The field shook;
everything swayed with the wind.
What once stood tall toppled quickly.
Even hardened earth eventually absorbs the rain.


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