“Whose flame/Is the imprisoned lightning.”
—Emma Lazarus, from “The New Colossus”
In a slow return to daylight after hours, she winks
at March and flirts
with her own promises to wake up
a tiny piece
of dirt. Hers is an impassioned lightning
that could strike
even now—before spring.
* also from Emma Lazarus’ “The New Colossus.”
a dime on the coffee bar tile
floor to pick up, orange
traffic cones inverted
in the sidewalk to ponder. It’s a sign
not to fall
into warning funnels before predictions
of tornado sirens blare over the radio. The handsome
shop keeper who owns that caché tells me
his beautiful dog sleeps
behind the snuff
bottle case. I notice him the way I notice him
so many evenings passing each other by. I go
unnoticed. Lightning inspires
a gray afternoon sky. These things—take
note. A tornado
warning gets canceled—
but what’s that sound?
The bees are dying. No one knows
why. Saying hello as you roll
away does nothing
to clear away this rain.
The beekeeper rarely speaks,
his voice cracks from disuse. I resist
filling in his blanks. They are not
blank, but beveled
with premonition. Lightning
could destroy the hive. But that’s not it.
And if it was, you still wouldn’t stand still
long enough to take anyone’s advice.